Itumeleng Khune and Tendai Ndoro lead the voting for places in Kaizer Chiefs’ and Orlando Pirates’ Carling Black Label Cup starting lineups.
Khune‚ the goalkeeper and darling of the Amakhosi faithful‚ is firmly entrenched to take his place in-between the posts at FNB Stadium on July 30 with the most votes – 122 433 – by some margin for players on both teams.
Zimbabwean striker Ndoro – who set the second half of last season alight with 10 goals in 19 league and cup games in 2016 – is next and tops Bucs’ list with 91 254 votes.
As yet neither of the sides’ string of high profile signings have broken into their starting line-ups‚ despite being available for voting on the competition website.
Chiefs’ nine new signings – including Ramahlwe Mphalele‚ Sibusiso Khumalo‚ Mitchell Katsvairo‚ Edmore Chirambadare and Keagan Buchanan – have not yet broken into the starting lineup having been late starters in the voting process.
Neither have Pirates’ off-season acquisitions Thabiso Kutumela‚ Riyaad Norodien and Abbubaker Mobara.
Also up in the voting for Amakhosi are centreback Mulomowandau Mathoho on 74 611‚ forward George Lebese (56 112)‚ defensive midfielder Willard Katsande (50 113) and veteran midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala (48 979).
Popular playmaker Hendrick “Pule” Ekstein is next on 41 038.
Centreback Daniel Cardoso (now on 27 379 votes) broke into Chiefs’ current starting XI on Tuesday at the expense of Lorenzo Gordinho.
For Pirates‚ goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo follows Ndoro with 83 530 votes.
Left-back Thabo Matlaba (57 623)‚ mercurial striker Lehlohonolo Majoro (56 712)‚ right-back Happy Jele (45 046) and centreback Edwin Gyimah (43 217) are next.
Bucs fans are keen to see their star playmaker‚ Oupa Manyisa‚ back in the starting line-up having suffered an injury for most of last season and he is next on 42 832 votes.