The big deal

The big deal
The big deal

Africa-Press – Lesotho. For the first time, the Vodacom Premier League will soon be seen all around the world. The ground-breaking development for local football comes after the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) partnered with football’s world governing body, FIFA, to broadcast live matches on its new platform, FIFA+.

It will be the first time local players get the chance to showcase themselves to an international audience. The new digital platform was launched last April by FIFA with the aim of connecting football fans across the globe and people will be able to watch live games of Lesotho’s elite leagues – the

Vodacom Premiership and the Women Super League (WSL) online. This is a historic move that will see audiences around the world get access to Lesotho football through streaming.

It will also help to market the players and expose their talent to football scouts all over the world. Speaking to thepost, LEFA’s communication officer Mikia Kalati said this will benefit local football because talent in Lesotho will now be seen worldwide.

“Players will now have an opportunity to be seen all over the world by the scouts, in the past the only time they were exposed to scouting would be when they were playing for the national team or at tournaments like the COSAFA Cup,” he said.

Until now, the national team, Likuena, has been the only vehicle to market players. Kalati said broadcasting games will show that there are many starlets like Katleho Makateng who now plays for Richards Bay in South Africa’s top-flight after he impressed for Likuena at the 2022 COSAFA Cup.

“It will show the talent at home, that we have many Katleho Makatengs, Motebang Seras, Boitumelo Rabales (Lesotho women’s captain) because it is not just men, it will also include women’s football,” he said

LEFA said it expects the FIFA+ programme to kick-off in the coming weeks with the full operational roll-out set for the start of the 2023/24 season. At the moment it is unclear how many games will be live streamed per weekend or which grounds will be used.

The national stadium is still out of bounds but LEFA has fully operational technical centres in Leribe, Mohale’s Hoek and the one under construction at Bambatha should be available for use soon.

For the first time ever, local football will be available at the fingertips of fans no matter where they are in the world, as FIFA+ is accessible globally.

Kalati said it is also a godsend for companies involved in football because they will get more mileage and be seen globally. “For someone who is in Mokhotlong, United Kingdom or the United States, they will be able to watch the football matches,” Kalati said.

“A lot of people have interest in local football but do not have a place where they can watch the players.
During the launch of this new streaming service last year, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the project embodies the cultural shift in the way football fans want to connect.

“FIFA+ represents the next step in our vision to make football truly global and inclusive, and it underpins FIFA’s core mission of expanding and developing football globally,” he said.

“This project represents a cultural shift in the way different types of football fans want to connect with and explore the global game and has been a fundamental part of my Vision 2020-2023. It will accelerate the democratisation of football and we are delighted to share it with fans,” Infantino said.

FIFA+ will provide access to live football matches from every corner of the world through interactive games, news, tournament information and ground-breaking video content around the men’s and women’s games. FIFA+ streamed the Qatar 2022 World Cup in Brazil free.

After the tournament, FIFA revealed that three times more local fans used digital platforms to consume the World Cup compared to 2018 with streams gaining more than 40 million unique viewers throughout the tournament.

The football governing body is targeting to stream an equivalent of 40,000 live games per year from 100 member associations across all six confederations, including 1,100 women’s matches.

Besides the ability to watch live matches, fans will be able to access match stats, the greatest archive in international football, premium original content, immersive global storytelling and much more.

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