Broke ZBC says unable to bring live AFCON matches

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By Anna Chibamu

THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) says it needs 750 000 euros to provide live coverage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament which kicks off in Egypt this Friday.

CEO Patrick Mavhura parliament’s Information, Media and Broadcasting Services committee which was touring the broadcaster’s Pockets Hill studios Thursday that the company was too broke to buy rights to beam the popular tournament live to locals.

He said the broadcaster was in negotiations with a private partner to solve the problem.

“We might fail to broadcast AFCON matches,” he said.

“We are battling to get funds for the live beaming rights. We have been in negotiations with a private partner (Kwese TV) but we are yet to finalise the deal. About 750 000 Euros is needed urgently to buy the rights.”

This however did not go down well with committee members who felt the State controlled broadcaster bungled the arrangement.

Committee chair and Binga MP Prince Sibanda questioned Mavhura and his team why they had waited until last minute to source for funding.

“So a whole national broadcaster waited for this long to source funds for the tournament broadcasting until the last minute. Really, I fail to understand this?” Sibanda said.

Mavhura said the ZBC management had planned for the tournament three months before through an arrangement with Econet’s Kwese TV but did not give further details on the deal.

He said negotiations were “on-going”.

The ZBC boss said the broadcaster banks on partnerships as was the case with the 2018 World Cup where it partnered Kwese TV, contributing US$450 000 towards the arrangement.

However, failure to secure a partner or sponsor with hours left to kickoff will now leave ZBC with no option but to beam delayed matches.

This year’s tournament will also be hampered by shortages of electricity as power utility ZESA has introduced a long load shedding schedule for industry and households.

The tournament opens this Friday night with hosts Egypt taking on Zimbabwe.