Johannesburg - Some of the biggest names in the game have been secured by SuperSport to underpin this year’s broadcast of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, beginning on June 14.
Yaya Toure, one of the most celebrated African players of the past decade, will be joined by straight-talking Jay-Jay Okocha, Dwight Yorke, one-half of the deadly duo which spearheaded Manchester United’s charge to a historical treble in 1999, plus former Manchester United and Everton fullback Phil Neville and Italian maestro Gianfranco Zola, one of Chelsea’s greatest players.
Other local and African guests doing SuperSport duty include Samson Siasia, Shaun Bartlett, Gavin Hunt, Andre Arendse and Benni McCarthy.
The presenters will be made up of the experienced foursome of Robert Marawa, Carol Tshabalala, Neil Andrews and Andy Townsend.
With a 24-hour World Cup channel already on air, the broadcast offering will be supplemented on June 1 with the launch of another 24-hour High Definition World Cup channel (SS3) that will run until July 15. It will include pre-World Cup friendlies.
There will be buildups for all matches with top analysis and insights from some of the sharpest minds in the game, plus world class graphics and technology to enhance coverage in the brand-new High Definition studio that launches in June. Post-match wraps will also feature, guaranteeing the most in-depth coverage.
Language options will be English, Portuguese, Pidgin English, Swahili, isiZulu and SeSotho.
The action kicks off on June 14 with the opening ceremony at 15:00 (SA time) and the first match (Russia v Saudi Arabia) at 17:00.
Supplementary programming will include “From Russia With Love”, a lifestyle magazine show to air on weekends and designed to capture the sights and sounds of the World Cup in Russia and transport it back home to Africa.
The show will be anchored by Minnie Dlamini with Thato Moeng and Charles Anazodo providing inserts from other regions.
There will be a daily one-hour news special on SuperSport Blitz during week days (07:00-08:00), anchored by Julia Stuart and Crystal Arnold with former Russian club players Matthew Booth and Stanton Fredericks plus Lucas Radebe on hand to add ballast to the broadcasts. Bulletins will include updates and news stories, plus updates from the Nigeria camp.
“FanFest”, a show that has supporters at its core, will broadcast every Saturday at 10:00 on SS3 simulcast on Mzansi Magic. Julia Stuart will be the main host with two celebrity guest presenters.
In addition, Nigeria “FanFest” will be broadcast at the same time in Nigeria with Mozez Praiz hosting.
For fans with more acute interests, “Master Plan” – to broadcast twice weekly on SS3 – will focus on strategic and tactical analysis with Townsend in the driving seat. He will have a range of digital toys to help him, including the telestrator, touch screen and player tracking data.
Completing the broadcast experience is “Insights”, a preview and review show set against the backdrop of different destinations hosted by Neville. It will include in-depth chats with ex-football players focusing on tactics, injuries and goals.