SABC hopes to broadcast remaining CAF coverage

2013-05-06 11:04

The SABC hopes to broadcast the remaining fixtures in Orlando Pirates’ African Champions League football campaign.

“We assure the South African soccer-loving public that we will continue to try to bring them all the action as Orlando Pirates, which is representing the country, competes in this tournament,” SABC acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said today.

The national broadcaster said two of its crew were arrested while trying to broadcast the second-leg, last 16 match between Pirates and TP Mazembe at the TP Mazembe Stadium in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday. The match was expected to be shown live on SABC, but was not broadcast.

“An an hour and a half before the game started, the team was thrown out of the stadium by stadium officials,” the SABC said.

“The SABC then solicited assistance from Dr Irvin Khoza, owner of Orlando Pirates, to intervene in the situation.

“Dr Khoza then got into contact with the owner and chairperson of TP Mazembe, who gave assurance that the matter would be resolved.”

Half an hour before the start of the match, the crew was allowed back into the stadium and began resetting up, but five minutes before the game, the feed was cut while testing.

One of the SABC staff members was then kicked out of the stadium by five police officials and detained, with no reason given. Another crew member was also kicked out of the stadium and detained.

One journalist’s cellphone SIM card was confiscated.

The two crew members had since been released by the police and would return to South Africa today.

“This is an unfortunate incident, which we, the department of sports and recreation and Orlando Pirates will take up with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the local broadcaster,” Motsoeneng said.

“We are grateful that our team which travelled down to the DRC are safe and were unharmed during the incident.”

While Pirates lost 1-0 to TP Mazembe, they went into the clash with a 3-1 lead from the first leg at Orlando Stadium two weeks ago, and made it through to the group stages of the Champions League. The SABC showed live coverage of the first-leg fixture.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the issue would be discussed with the relevant authorities.

Khoza voiced disappointment about what had happened, and told the SABC he would raise the issue in two weeks’ time at a CAF meeting.

The DA in Gauteng said it hoped that Mahlatse Mminele, the South African consul general in Lubumbashi, would urgently take up the matter.

“We wish Orlando Pirates all the best in the competition and we hope that they may bring the trophy home,” the DA said.

“We urge all South Africans to support the only team that is flying the country’s flag in the CAF Champions League.”

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