TV blackout for Chipolopolo fans

LUSAKA - The Africa Cup of Nations will not be broadcast on national television in Zambia.

LUSAKA - The Africa Cup of Nations will not be broadcast on national television in Zambia.

The Chipolopolo are playing in Group C, but fans back home will not be able to watch them play unless they have access to satellite television.

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) failed to raise the sum demanded by rights holder LC2.

ZNBC director general Joseph Salasini told BBC Sport that LC2 initially asked for $1,8 million (about R13 million).

The figure was reduced to R10, 5 million, but the ZNBC managed to raise only R1 million towards the amount required.

"This level of broadcast rights is unprecedented in the history of African football," said Salasini.

"This amount is close to ZNBC's sales budget for a quarter.

"It's wrong to exploit the passion of African people regarding football."

Salasini said his institution could not raise the remainder of the money, despite embarking on a rigorous fundraising campaign last year.

"As director-general of the ZNBC, I have the solemn duty and burden to face and inform the nation about this unpleasant position," he said.

"As Zambians, we have a choice of putting money into football or securing the lives of the people who are affected by floods," he added.

"I think what we have seen is that those holding broadcast rights are essentially looking at exploiting the nature of football in Africa, which is wrong.

"It's wrong to exploit the passion of African people regarding football," he said.

l African-football legend Abedi "Pele" Ayew has tipped his native Ghana to win the Africa Cup of Nations.

The three-times African Player of the Year believes the Black Stars, as hosts of the event, can win despite the loss of injured captain Stephen Appiah.

"Ghana can go all the way because they are playing in front of their home fans and they have a strong squad.

"Losing Appiah will be overcome as Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari are both great midfielders," Ayew said. - BBC

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