History was made at the weekend when pay tv channel, Supersport, broadcast Botswana football live on air for the first time.
After months of uncertainty over which company would be granted the rights to broadcast the Botswana Premier League (BPL), Supersport hit our shores at the weekend much to the delight of most Batswana who believe that the international company would add value to our game.
┬áSupersport, which broadcast the games on channel 209, started with a league game between Miscellaneous and BR Highlanders on Friday evening. The tv channel further broadcast four Mascom Top 8 quarterfinal games over the weekend, something which has seen even the sponsors gaining mileage.
“It was great to have the games shown live on tv after so much confusion. We’re satisfied with the production which Supersport did and we are looking forward to a better coverage in the future. At the present moment, we need to continue with the talks and come to a conclusion over the details of the deal. At the moment I’m running around to try and look into some of the things which they (Supersport) want,” said BPL Chief Bennett Mamelodi on Monday morning.
He pointed out that though they will be some midweek league games, they would not be shown on tv. Supersport is expected to be back in the country next week and possibly air week 18 games and the second leg of Mascom Top 8 quarterfinals.
“I’m confident that we’ll be able to come up with a deal which would benefit our football,” Mamelodi added.
Both BPL and Supersport have not finalized the details of their deal. The weekend’s broadcast was a trial which both parties hope will bear fruit. The company’s crew returned to South Africa on Monday morning with the Outside Broadcasting (OB) van returning to Kenya.
Veteran Supersport commentator Mark Gleeson was delighted that their production has spread into Botswana.
Apart from South Africa, Supersport has exclusive rights to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambian football.
“The football side was a bit scrappy but I think there is room for improvement. I was impressed by Fighters (when they beat Centre Chiefs 3-1 in Mascom Top 8 on Sunday). Beating the league champions is not an easy thing and their finishing was perfect. Even in South Africa some teams are struggling with scoring goals,” said Gleeson who expects to be back in Botswana soon.┬á
Supersport presenter Kamza Mbatha was a bit disappointed by the performance of the teams but was glad that Botswana football has the hit their screens.
On Saturday, Gaborone United and Township Rollers used their home advantage to outwit their opponents. GU beat Nico United 2-1 in the opening game with Jomo Moatlhaping and Tebogo Sembowa scoring for the Reds. Topo Piet reduced the arrears for Nico towards the end of first half and ensuring that the game is far from being decided.
Rollers continued their dominance of wasteful ECCO City Greens beating them 2-1. It was goals from Lawrence Majawa and Onalethata Tshekiso which won the game for the Blues. Patrick Lenyeletse scored the consolation goal for the visitors.