SABC cry foul over blackout

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

The SABC has abdicated responsibility for their failure to broadcast Bafana Bafana's final group qualifying match against Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Saturday.

Kaizer Kganyago, the public broadcaster's spokesman has laid the blame at the doorstep of the Central African country's authorities for the debacle, saying they had declined 34 SABC technical employees' visas to travel to Malabo.

"Initially we had applied for visas for 39 people, but were only given five. We then made arrangements with the Equatorial Guinea broadcaster to get the match from them.

"On the day they informed us that they were having technical problems which they would work on. But it never happened," Kganyago said.

The SABC had announced that they would televise the match - which Bafana Bafana won 1-0 - delayed live on Saturday but that did not happen, disappointing viewers.

"We are obviously sorry, but we had intended and planned to broadcast the match. Their embassy did not give us the visas the same way they had denied the Safa media officer a visa," he said.

Bafana Bafana team manager Sipho Nkumane - who had been in charge of the Safa delegation's applications - said all their applications were done on time.

"They told us that there was no need for our media officer, Sifiso Cele, to go. A Sunday Times reporter, Kgomotso Mokoena's application was also declined," said Nkumane.

"They also wanted to cause a scene about our two assistant coaches, asking what we were doing with two assistant coaches. We have asked the match commissioner to include all this in his report."

Also declined were applications by Banyana Banyana's August Makalakalane and Fran Hilton-Smith, who had planned to use the trip as a scouting mission for next month's African Women's Championships tournament in that country.

The Equatorial Guinea embassy could not be reached for comment yesterday.