SUPERSPORT International has bemoaned the state of Zambia’s stadia saying this was disadvantaging the country’s prospect of wider and better coverage of both local and international matches by the African giant pay television channel.
SuperSport Africa executive producer Max Tshunungwa said in Lusaka that as a person directly in charge of sports coverage of African sports activities, he was saddened by the state of stadia that he visited in Lusaka and called for urgent attention.
He said this at the weekend he marked a presentation at a German Sports Co-operation-sponsored sports associations Sports Marketing, Sponsorship and Television workshop held at the Southern Sun hotel in Lusaka, said Zambian football lacked a lot of creativity and professionalism in games organisation from concerned parties.
Tshunungwa, who conducted an on-the-spot check of Lusaka stadia as part of a familiarisation tour in his fact finding mission on why Zambian local football was not receiving as much coverage as was expected like other countries in Southern Sub-Sahara region, said a lot still needed to be done.
He said the state of most Zambian Stadia was not camera-friendly for televising live soccer matches and implored concerned authorities to improve the standards if Zambia was to compete and meet the expectations and benefits of SuperSport coverage.
“The standards of stadia in this country is still worrying despite you guys being African Champions. The sitting arrangement is something else and honestly as a country, you are losing out on coverage. The benches in the stadiums are something else.
“Even those stands were cameras are mounted are not stable, it’s risky for the crew,” he said.
He said even the atmosphere in the stadium did not reflect the status of a country that is a reigning continental champion and urged league sponsors MTN to do more with the branding of local teams as a way of attracting more sponsorship partnerships.
Tshunungwa said he was saddened to notice that spectators in the stadium were mostly dressed in foreign replica jerseys and some teams were not branded as was the trend in most other leagues globally.
The SuperSport executive producer said it was unfortunate that despite being African champions, the Zambian league had the least number of games being televised as compared to other countries.
“The Zambian league is supposed to be bigger and better than countries like Kenya, but because of differences in terms of organisation of games, Kenya seems to be more organised and as a results we televise more of their game. Zambia only gets 20 games coverage and they expect to get exposure like that?
“Seriously, this does not befit the status of an African champion,” Tshunungwa said.
He said Zambian football lacked professionalism in games organisation as compared to leagues in most countries and creativity to attract sponsorships and partnerships deals except for the national soccer team.
“You guys have even failed to take advantage of winning the Africa Cup. You just won the cup this year but the atmosphere is different. It’s like you won it last year or years back. This is a good opportunity to attract sponsorship to the local league,” he said.
And Professor Helmut Digel from University of Tubingen in Germany bemoaned the differences in cultures as one of the reasons why it was difficult to attract sponsorships to Zambian sports federations.
He said sports associations needed to be creative by targeting audiences carefully, planning ahead, knowing competitors and increased brand awareness campaigns.