By Jacob Ajom
May 29 was huge in every sporting sense. On that day, the cookies crumbled for Pep Guardiola and his Cityzens army in the city of Porto, Portugal when, against all expectations, Chelsea, popularly called The Blues by their teeming fans overran them 1- 0 and carted away the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy.
Football fans in Nigeria can’t forget that night easily, as they witnessed every minute of the highly entertaining encounter, courtesy Supersport, and GOtv.
It was an anti-climax for Guardiola who had everything going for him and his beautifully playing squad throughout the season. Before that day, most soccer fans, pundits, and journalists alike had predicted a Manchester City win, given the tremendous run the team had recorded all season, domestically and in Europe.
They won the English League Cup (Carabao Cup), the English Premier League and were eyeing a treble with the Champions League as the icing on the cake. Their hopes were justified by the way they dismissed Paris Saint Germain in the semi-finals.
But Chelsea had their own plans. Handled by a highly technical, no-nonsense gaffer, Thomas Tuchel, a man who, twelve months earlier had watched his former side PSG fall under the German machine, Bayern Munich in the final of the same competition, Chelsea were not prepared to allow him suffer the same fate against their EPL rivals, despite finishing fourth behind them in the domestic league. It must be noted that before the Champions League final, Chelsea were the only team that had beaten Man City back-to-back in the FA Cup and EPL.
To get to the final of the Champions League, Chelsea surprised all by recording outstanding victories over Atletico Madrid, and in the semi-final, 13 times winners of the Champions League, Real Madrid fell to the disciplined West London side also. On current form, it was a final between two of the fittest and finest playing teams in Europe. Yet the odds were overwhelmingly in favour of the Manchester team as everybody though it was Guardiola’s time to extract his pound of flesh from Tuchel.
In Lagos, MultiChoice, owners of Supersport, a prime source of sports content in Africa and beyond marked the night in a special way. The organisation gathered its media friends, sports pundits, and content producers for a special viewing experience at their Victoria Island headquarters, where a big screen was mounted. Martin Mabutho, Chief Customer Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria was on hand to brief journalists on the company’s plans for Euro 2020 tournament which begins next Friday, June 11 in Italy.
Although the briefing was meant to be on the Euros what dominated the sitting was the impending Champions League match. Mabutho challenged all to predict the winner of the match between City and Chelsea. None came close to getting it right as most of the predictions went the way of City. Mabutho went away with the attractive prize of a weekend at Eko Hotel for whoever got the prediction right and his partner with a N50,000 cash.
It will run through to July 11. Twenty-four teams will be playing across 51 matches in 12 cities, while the semi-finals and final will take place at the Wembley Stadium.
Mabutho said football buffs in Nigeria were in for a real treat as the organisation he represents MultiChoice Nigeria has promised to make the Euro tournament available on Dstv Compact plus upwards and on GOtv Max, Jolli and Jinja packages.
“DStv viewers can catch all the games on SuperSport Premier League (DStv channel, while GOtv viewers can watch on SuperSport La Liga channel. These channels have since been renamed “SS Euro 2020” from June 1 and are dedicated to the football event and magazine shows, available round the clock,” stressed Martin Mabutho, Chief Customer Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, in a chat with Sports Vanguard.
He continued, we are very prepared and are ready to satisfy all our subscribers as we have secured the rights to all the games of The Euros.
Aside bringing all the matches to viewers, Mabutho said that there will be a lot of studio analysis by expert pundits who will be providing indepth previews and reviews of matches and also experts who will be looking at the technical aspects of the tournament. These pundits would be made up of mostly those who have played or coached the game at one time or the other. They are all experts in their own right.”
“Also, we are creating more packages in order for more people to gain access to the games. It is a family affair and we are out to see that we satisfy as many families as possible.”
In order to attract more eyeballs to DStv screens, Mabutho said, “every football fan across the globe knows that the best football teams in the world come from Europe and from those national teams, we have individual players featuring for various clubs we watch every weekend. So the Euros provide a unique opportunity to see these players who play against each other in their clubs come together under their national team setup. Nothing can be more compelling than watch.“
Ahead of the tournament kick-off, MultiChoice also promised to ensure subscribers are treated to additional football content via the dedicated SuperSport Euro2020 channels, which will be opened from 1st to 11th of June, to enjoy archive content, documentaries, warm-up games, best qualifying matches, previous finals and best games from previous Euros.