By Carlos Kambaekwa
Local soccer fans will not be able to watch the 26th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations finals that kick off in Ghana on January 20 on the national broadcaster NBC, or on One Africa Television.
Until such time as legislation is put in place demanding that certain sporting disciplines, in particular football, be shown on the poorly-funded public broadcasters, the less affluent football fans are bound to suffer as national television stations are now competing dollar for dollar with the financially muscled pay-per-view channels.
But New Era understands that Supersport will show all the matches live.
Public broadcasters will always remain disadvantaged at negotiating broadcasting rights for major sport events because the world of football has grown into a multi-million-dollar circus.
Local free-to-air TV station, One Africa Television, is among the first casualties that could not meet the asking rights fee of close to N$2 million (250 000 Euros) for the live broadcast of the games.
French-based company, Sports Five Network, has acquired the exclusive rights for the next five editions of the continental showpiece and would not sell its product cheaply as it is asking for a staggering combined amount of N$10 million for the live broadcast of all 56 matches in the three-week tournament.
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s Acting Executive Producer for Television and Radio Sport, Sackey Shikufa, confirmed to New Era Sport that the public broadcaster is battling to meet the asking fee.
“We have been in negotiations with Sports Five Network since last year but the company would not budge on the exorbitant rights fee, even when we tried to strike a deal for Namibia’s group matches only – the company would have none of that and insisted on a sealed package.”
Angolan television has been able to raise the asking fee, but Zambian television has not been able to.
Acting Secretary General of the Namibian Football Association, Barry Rukoro, expressed shock and disbelief at the national broadcaster’s inability to acquire broadcasting rights for Africa’s biggest event.
“It’s a very sad situation that many Namibians would not be able to watch their own players in action on national television since many football followers do not have access to digital television.
“Anyway, I’m not surprised at all that NBC has still not finalised the broadcast deal for an event of this magnitude, because they could not even facilitate the live broadcast of last weekend’s international friendly between the Brave Warriors and Senegal that was offered to the national broadcaster at no fee,” concluded Rukoro.