Amid Africa World Cup blackout, SuperSport may also not secure Afcon rights

A SuperSport cameraman during a DStv Premiership match between Sekhukhune United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane in August 2022.
A SuperSport cameraman during a DStv Premiership match between Sekhukhune United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane in August 2022.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

SuperSport TV has not confirmed or denied an assertion that the reason it is not televising Africa’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers is because it wants to focus more on European football.

The pay channel said it remains committed to broadcasting sports in Africa.

However, sources close to SuperSport have told TimesLIVE it is not just the African World Cup qualifiers, Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup it has not secured rights for, with the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) also under threat of not being televised by the MultiChoice channel. 

The Afcon, for which Bafana Bafana have qualified, is being staged in Ivory Coast in January and February.

Osasu Obayiuwana, a British-Nigerian freelance reporter who contributes regularly to the UK’s Guardian and is a pundit on Times Radio and Al Jazeera, posted on X on Sunday that he was informed by a source that SuperSport “refused to do a rights deal” on the qualifiers.

“A source at @CAF_Online [the Confederation of African Football, or Caf] claims that a change in management at @SuperSportTV is responsible for the absence of #fifa2026worldcupqualifiers on televisions across Africa,” Obayiuwana posted.

“The person says SuperSport bluntly refused to do a TV rights deal, claiming Interim SuperSport CEO Tex Teixeira told Caf 'they want to focus more on European football’.”

Obayiuwana said he had asked Teixeira for a response.

TimesLIVE has confirmed the conversation between SuperSport and Caf in which Teixeira allegedly indicated the pay channel was gravitating towards European football.

Asked to respond to Obayiuwana's assertion, SuperSport, which is televised in many African countries, told TimesLIVE it remains committed to broadcasting African football even though it has not secured the rights to the continent's World Cup qualifiers.

“Rights are generally acquired after considering various commercial factors. SuperSport’s appetite for major rights remains strong, so too its commitment to Africa,” SuperSport said.

The pay channel, in the 2023-24 season, has also not televised the Champions League and Confederation Cup interclub competitions, as it has previously. 

Its failure to televise the World Cup qualifiers, Champions League and Confed has angered football supporters and officials in West Africa especially, where SuperSport is available in many countries.

Bafana’s 2-0 group C World Cup qualifying defeat away against Rwanda in Butare on Tuesday was broadcast by the SABC.

The public broadcaster, as the rights partner to the South African Football Association (Safa), televises all Bafana home games, such as Saturday's 2-1 World Cup qualifying win against Benin in Durban, but has to secure rights from Caf for away matches.


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