BOTSWANA's government had reportedly approved state broadcaster, Botswana Television (Btv) request for funds to acquire the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) broadcasting rights but a blunder led to the games blackout, writes Mqondisi Dube in Mmegi.

The state reportedly approved Btv's request for the broadcasting of the AFCON finals, which kicked off in Angola on Sunday.

Btv viewers were left in a lurch after the state broadcaster stopped the live transmission of games on Monday.

Reports emerging from the Mass Media Complex indicate that an agreement was reached to broadcast the games after guarantees were made to pay the rights' holders. But payment was reportedly not made on time, resulting in the blackout on live coverage.

In response to Mmegi Sport questions yesterday, Department of Broadcasting Services head of corporate affairs, Neoyame Shirima did not state the reason why Btv decided to discontinue the live broadcasts.

"Botswana Television decided not to continue with the live broadcasts of AFCON games until negotiations for the acquisition of rights are concluded," Shirima said.

She said Btv is still in the process of acquiring the broadcast rights and when acquisition is complete, details regarding how much was paid and to who will be announced.

"However, we are bargaining for what we can afford," Shirima said. She said if the station acquires the rights, some of the games may be recorded and broadcast at a later date.

Shirima did not rule out the possibility of Btv failing to acquire the broadcast rights.
"If Btv does not succeed in acquiring the broadcast rights, viewers will unfortunately not be able to watch the AFCON games on Btv," Shirima said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Mmegi's website.