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KPL matches to be broadcast in Swahili

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NAIROBI, Kenya, January 19- Live Kenyan Premier League (KPL) matches in the upcoming season will have Swahili commentary running alongside English.

KPL broadcast right holders, SuperSport Head of Africa; Gary Rathbone announced this on Thursday as the pay satellite television service providers’ unveiled plans of launching the new SuperSport 9 East channel that will be home to regional content.

“The main excitement about this season is the delivery of commentary of the KPL will also be available in Swahili. This is the next step forward and the plan is to do different languages in different countries starting with Swahili broadcasts in Kenya.

“It was coming and we have everything sorted out and after we had success with the experiment CECAFA tournament in Tanzania, now we are ready to roll out and it means more people will be able to access the KPL in the way that works better for them,” Rathbone declared.

Under the plan, viewers will have the choice to select English or Swahili commentary with pre and post match analysis being delivered in both languages following in the model employed last year during the regional tournament.

Despite the rapid progress the broadcast partners who have spent close to a billion shillings since they signed a deal with the domestic top flight league competition in 2008, Rathbone decried lack of a title sponsor for the competition.

“It’s a crying shame that this is not happening and everyone can help to put efforts behind and talk to people and make this happen since this is a great league and with a title sponsors behind it, it will make this league among the top five in the continent where I feel it belongs,” the SuperSport boss charged.

Live coverage will start on February 6 with the Dstv/SuperSport Super Cup where league champions Tusker will take on Cup holders Gor Mahia before the KPL kicks-off a week later.

This season, SuperSport has committed to broadcast the competition live in every week it will run as well as the Top 8 midweek knock-out matches.

“In Tanzania, we have Vodacom, Bell Lager in Uganda, ABSA in South Africa as well as Barclays in the English Premier League and I find it hard to believe corporates in the country are not involved in a well run product that is gaining popularity,” he continued as he dispelled the idea his firm were the title sponsors of the league.

“We only invested in the rights to broadcast and it is time the league that has developed to be among the best organised and transparent with accounts being provided every month got a sponsor,” Rathbone stressed.

Currently, subscribers to the pay television access KPL and other leagues in Africa through SuperSport 9 but the roll out of the proposed regional channel will see activity from East Africa available on that handle.

Rathbone also stressed SuperSport would offer extended coverage on Team Kenya’s journey to the 2012 London Olympics as well as the action with screening of the Africa Cup of Nations that kicks-off on Saturday in Gabon that is co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea being the first major offering for the year.

“I know that Kenyans are very disappointed their team is not in the tournament but they now have a new management, new coach, new vision and new attitude and I’m confident that we should see a Kenyan team go down to South Africa next year.

“But there are great teams such as Ivory Coast, Ghana and Senegal that should make the competition interesting to our viewers and we shall provide them with professional coverage,” Rathbone stressed.

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