As the 2013 AFCON tournament kicks off in South Africa today, Zambia goes in as defending champions but without staff from the national broadcaster to conduct commentaries about the tournament and news updates.
This is despite the fact that the national broadcaster managed to acquire the broadcast rights yesterday from the biggest mining sponsor FQM of KR1.5 million.
In their initial plan, ZNBC was to send 7 staff, in them, 3 for TV commentaries, 2 for radio commentaries, a technician and 1 camera person.
In a turn of events, ZNBC cancelled the trip for its staff citing financial challenges and the battle between the corporation and ZAMBEEF which has dictated to send its own preferred non-ZNBC staff to conduct radio commentaries in South Africa.
It is believed that the two individuals sponsored by the ZAMBEEF to go at the expense of ZNBC staff are the usual Leonard Chibansa and one manager’s girlfriend Maria Banda.
The big questions are, who is supposed to assign staff to cover the AFCON, is it a sponsor or ZNBC management? Which medium would the two use to conduct commentaries since ZNBC has lamentably and embarrassingly failed to send not even one sports commentator or reporter?
For how long will ZNBC continue to depend on self imposed manpower at the expense of using its own staff even as they prepare for the COSAFA tournament to be hosted in July this year?
According to sources from within ZNBC management, the situation is described as a bitter bill to swallow to have a sponsor dictate terms against the national broadcaster’s planned delivery process.