Traditional platforms where football fans normally watch the Super Eagles whenever they are in action were blank for Thursday’s much-talked about friendly against the Teranga Lions of Senegal.
That development did not go down well with many Nigerians as they could not get a grasp of their darling team who ended up playing a commendable 1-1 draw against the second most ranked team on the continent.
Several reasons have been mentioned as to why the Super Eagles game did not make it to live TV despite the quality opposition they were lined up to face.
SuperSport, the cable satellite television station that aired most of Nigeria’s recent matches, said it did not bid to air the friendly.
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, Felix Awogu, the General Manager of SuperSport West Africa, said his organisation did not bid for the right to beam the Super Eagles game for a number of reasons.
“You are not given the rights to show a match, you actually bid for it and in the case of Thursday’s game we did not bid” Awogu explained.
According to the SuperSport boss, logistics around the Senegal-Nigeria game were not too clear hence the reason why they did not bid for the right, let alone show the game.
“We are very careful when we have to rely on third party feeds because we want the best quality for our viewers,” he said. “In the case of yesterday’s match, we could not guarantee a lot of things”
Awogu dismissed insinuations that the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, overpriced the Eagles’ game and that was why no one was interested in buying the rights.
“I don’t think that is correct, there are standards in the industry which the NFF know and have always abide with,” he said. “For us, it was more of the uncertainties around the match like a number of players not getting visas and sorts that did not allow us bid for the rights.”
While ticket sales failed to pick up as many would have expected judging by the array of stars on parade, the streaming site that was meant to serve as a last resort also failed to deliver.
The NFF has, however, dissociated itself from the failure to have the game streamed live to interested Nigerians.
NFF’s Director of Media and Communications, Ademola Olajire, explained on Friday that the task of having the game put up on livestream, as well as other details like TV production and stadium readiness, was entirely that of the organisers – Eurodata Sport.
“The livestreaming of the match had nothing to do with the NFF. Our clear responsibility was to present a team, by the name Super Eagles of Nigeria, while other tasks were squarely on the plate of the Match Agent.
“Our Official FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport had an agreement with some firm in Nigeria to livestream the match, through receiving signals from the production team at the stadium, but a technical hitch that arose late in the day conspired to make that impossible.
“Mr. Jairo Pachon himself has explained that the hitch was brought to his notice at about 8 p.m. on Thursday, just as the match was kicking off. There was definitely no attempt by the NFF or its Match Agent to scam anyone.”
On Thursday, Jairo Pachon told thenff.com that efforts were at an advanced stage to upload the full match for people to watch for free.
“We have perfected the plan to upload onto a link and then make it public, where people can go and enjoy the full match. What happened was unfortunate but it was a technical issue that nobody could rectify at the time.
“We have the highest regard for fans of Nigerian football worldwide and will never take them for granted. The company concerned will refund in full the monies paid by people who wanted to watch the match on livestream.”
Both teams played out a 1-1 draw under seven-degree Celsius weather at The Hive – home ground of League 2 clubs, Barnet FC and London Bees.
Senegal, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations quarter finalists, went ahead in the 54th minute through Moussa Sow; but Kelechi Iheanacho clawed the Eagles back from the penalty spot nine minutes from time.
The Super Eagles will take on the Etalons of Burkina Faso at the same venue and time on Monday, in their second friendly game. Nigerians may, however, be unable to also watch the Burkina Faso game live as no concrete arrangement has been made. The NFF’s Olajire was silent on any preparations while SuperSport’s Awogu was non-committal on whether or not his firm would bid for or air the match.