Time for Mpofu to wash the soap out of his eyes

It's only appropriate to get this small matter regarding this new soapy dominating SABC TV and radio stations alike, out of the way.

It's only appropriate to get this small matter regarding this new soapy dominating SABC TV and radio stations alike, out of the way.

Unfortunately, I can't confirm the title of the soapy, except to say my sources insist that it's The Truth versus SABC. Someone, nevertheless, advised me that for SABC I should read Dali Mpofu.

Mpofu is the self-appointed star of the show.

The desperate advocate has been at pains telling the public that the Premier Soccer League has sold out the masses by entering (or is it intending to enter) into a deal with the pay-to-watch station, SuperSport.

People have also been told that that the deal is going to deny millions a chance to watch their favourite sport as they would have to buy decoders and also pay monthly fees to access football.

I find this rather a cheap tactic for Mpofu to use. More so because he seems destined to stay in our faces by dominating the TV screens trying to win us over to the SABC side while denying the opposition a chance to explain things.

Last Friday a story supposedly written by Sipho Mthembu kicked off thus: "In a major shake-up of soccer broadcasting, M-Net SuperSport has won the rights to screen all PSL games, which will deprive many ordinary fans of watching most local soccer live."

Without elaborating on why Mthembu's name was associated with that story, it suffices to say he had nothing to do with the assertion projected.

That buried, I agree with Mato Madlala, the Lamontville Golden Arrows' chairman and a member of the PSL executive committee, when she says suggestions to the effect that millions face a TV blackout of matches are intended to mislead. Indeed, it's a lie.

In so far as football TV coverage is concerned, professional football has been kept in apartheid shackles for far too long.

Mpofu needs to rewrite his script because his organisation has been taking the game for granted as if they were doing both football and the public a favour.

Rather than concentrate on improving things, Mpofu chose to get personal against their critics. He also added that the product (soccer) was not good enough, thus the poor quality of coverage. Bull-dust!

The SABC, with all its resources and world-class technical know-how, still failed to make our football more attractive and popular. Instead it only televised 75 out of 275 matches a season, according to the PSL.

That was a blackout for me.

The PSL insists that the public broadcaster dragged its feet when it was time to renew its licence and that was the reason why SuperSport and other parties were allowed to bid.

Perhaps it's not true, as Mpofu seems to argue, and he sounds confident that the arbitrator will prove him right.

Mpofu has also been telling us that some of the visitors at their Auckland Park Dithering Heights were there, African-style, to give them morale support in their time of need as they fight to televise Mzansi football.

This smacks of some misguided campaign. This is also akin to a cornered boxer turning his back on his opponent while encouraging the fans to cheer him on instead.

By the way, Mpofu is chairman of Boxing South Africa, governing body of one of the most poorly marketed sporting codes in the country.

Explaining itself, the PSL tells us that (something confirmed by SuperSport), contrary to a meagre 75 matches in the past, the new deal allows 261 matches a season to be screened live.

The league has also asked SuperSport to make sure that 151 (not 75) of those matches are sold to free-to-air TV channels (SABC or e.tv, if not both).

These matches will have to include the PSL's creme de la creme such as the Kaizer Chiefs-Orlando Pirates derbies and all cup finals. Only 110 matches are to be televised exclusively by SuperSport.

With such an arrangement there can only be more matches, more jobs and no blackout, methinks.

The only TV blackout for football can possibly happen if the SABC refuses to admit that it took the Afrikaans adage, "die agter os kom ook in die kraal", literally.

One wonders what the dear advocate was doing when the deadline to renew their licence lapsed. Could it have been because he was watching Generations? We will never know.

Swallow your pride Advocate Dali Mpofu and buy us the rights to watch at least 100 of those matches on the SABC channels that we pay licences for.

Aku sheshwe, broer!