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SuperSport black-out for local league

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Malawi football family faces a long wait before they can watch their favourite TNM Super League teams on DStv as SuperSport International Private Limited has disclosed that it has no immediate plans to beam the local league.

SuperSport head of production, Alvin Naicker, made the revelations in Mauritius last week when justifying the broadcaster’s presence in other countries such as Zambia, Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ghana.

Low subscription base, lack of proper facilities and qualified personnel are among the major reasons that are restricting SuperSport from beaming Malawi’s top-flight league, he said in a press statement.

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Apparently local administrators and aspirants for different position in football circles have been using SuperSport as a campaign gimmick.

Naicker added that Malawi has lower subscriber base compared to other Africa counties such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania, hence priority is given to such countries. Malawi’s subscription base is believed to be less than 50,000.

“We don’t just pay money for the rights and walk away, sending in a couple of cameras in a film event. There should be an education process,” said Naicker while emphasising the need for collaboration between SuperSport and continent’s sporting stakeholders.

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“We want to understand what the local culture is about, why certain venues cannot be used and what time. We want to build successful partnerships because we are in for a long run.”

He said the content provider set a broadcast manual for the football leagues to help, educate them about the way a broadcast works and its influence on fixtures, logistics and timing.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) general secretary, Sugzo Nyirenda, said there was need for collaborated efforts to address the shortfall.

“On our own as Fam we can’t increase the subscription base. The onus is for the entire nation. However, let me admit that Fam is losing a lot of revenue because we don’t have a local broadcaster to satisfy those requirements,” Nyirenda explained.

“If we had a local broadcaster with necessary and sufficient equipment like cameras and Outside Broadcasting Van, it could have made our proposal a strong one.”

Nyirenda said Fam had requested camera’s from the world football governing body, Fifa.

“We are doing our best to satisfy those conditions. We are also in talks with some local stations to see how best to address the issue. But as I said earlier, Malawians have a role to play to increase the viewership,” he said.

Silver Strikers midfielder, Peter Pindani, said it was easier for scouts to spot talent when games are beamed on DStv. He further faulted local broadcasters’ lack of enough interest in Super League coverage.

“It becomes a stumbling block for an agent to travel and watch a particular game from one country to another when television could have done,” Pindani noted, adding “In most cases, we have crucial games in the TNM Super League weekly, but these games are hardly on TV. It is only a cup final that is covered. So, before we talk about our football being on SuperSport let us start it locally.”

Super League of Malawi president, Innocent Bottomani, in his manifesto released before he was re-elected early this year, acknowledged that modern football generates more money from TV coverage.

“I will expedite engagement of local TV outlets to start beaming Super League games live. Sulom shall exclusively own broadcasting rights and have the liberty to sell to bidders as it sees fit. Meanwhile, I will also work on ensuring that the requirements to qualify for SuperSport International channel are satisfied within the next two years,” Bottomani promised

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