Football fans who are customers of DStv on GOtv have plenty to look forward to when the 2021/22 European football season gets underway. Not only can they catch Unbeatable Football on SuperSport with world’s top leagues in action. ESPN also offers several of Europe’s premiere leagues including the Scottish Premiership,English Football League, Eredivisie and Turkish Super Lig bringing the adrenalin-filled action from the pitch live to viewers on DStv and selected matches on GOtv.
The Scottish Professional Football League gets set in motion for all four major Scottish leagues from Saturday 31st July with the top division in the country, the Scottish Premiership, airing exclusively on ESPN Africa. Current champions Rangers and manager Steven Garrad will be looking to defend their title with a newly-bolstered squad that includes two new African signings, Nigerian midfielder Nnamdi Ofoborh joining from Bournemouth and Zambia’s Fashion Sakala, previously with Belgian club Oostende. The Rangers vs Livingston match will broadcast live at 12:30 pm. Celtic go into the new season with their new manager at the helm, Australian Ange Postecoglou, being provided his first coaching opportunity in Europe. They face Hearts at 21:00, with this match also broadcasting live on ESPN.
The following weekend, from Friday 6 August, the English Football League takes centre stage as the EFL Championship, EFL League One and EFL League Two campaigns kick off across England. All eyes will be on the Championship where Sheffield United, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion will be competing to win back promotion to the English Premier League. With a number of coaching moves, including Marco Silva’s appointment at Fulhamfollowing Scott Parker’s departure to Bournemouth and Slavisa Jokanovic finding a home at Bramall Lane and taking charge at Sheffield United, it’s all to play for as Premier League glory beckons.
ESPN viewers can settle in for a super English Football League kickoff weekend. On Friday 6 August, Bournemouth take on West Bromwich Albion at Vitality Stadium at 6:45pm. Blackburn Rovers will play Swansea City at 12:00pm, with Charlton Athletic playing against Sheffield Wednesday at 4:30pm and Sheffield United taking on Birmingham City at 7:00pm. On Sunday 8 August, Fulham will play Middlesbrough at 2:30pm after which Coventry City will face Nottingham Forest from the Richo Arena at 3:30 CAT, with all of these matches broadcasting live. Thereafter, ESPN will air the matches on Saturdays at 11:30am and 2:00pm through to May 2022, when the much-anticipated play-off rounds begin.
Fans will be keen to follow local players on the field during the Championship including DRC striker Benik Afobe joining Millwall on loan from Stoke City, Ivory Coast striker Yakou Meite who will be hoping to build on his impressive 2020/21 season for Reading. Barnsley’s Kenyan defender Clarke Oduor and Blackburn Rovers fullback Ryan Nyambe of Namibia – will both be looking to make their mark this season.
The new season of the Netherlands’ highest level of professional football, the popular Dutch Eredivisie, begins on 13 August with ESPN with four matchups being broadcast across Africa that weekend. Heracles Almelo will play PSV Eindhoven on Saturday 14 August at 4:45pm while Ajax Amsterdam will face NEC Nijmegen later that day at 7:00pm. SC Cambuur will play FC Groningen the following day at 10:30am, with Willem II taking on Feyenoord at 16:45 CAT. Thereafter ESPN will broadcast selected Eredivisie matches, including those played by Champions Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord as well as the 10:30am match every Sunday. Notable local talent include Ajax Amsterdam’s Ghanaian attacking midfielder Mohammed Kudus and Moroccan right back Noussair Mazraoui, PSV Eindhoven’s impressive Ivorian midfielder Ibrahim Sangaré, Sparta Rotterdam’s Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye as well as Feyenoord’s 18-year old Senegalese winger Aliou Baldé.
Turkey’s top professional football league, the Turkish Super Lig, kicks off two weeks later, on Sunday 15 August. Following Besiktas’ crowning as Champions by the narrowest of margins in a dramatic final day of the league, this season’s competition is sure to be fiercer than ever with Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Trabzonspor and a revitalized Istanbul Basaksehir, all looking to wrestle the crown back.
South African midfielder Lebogang Phiri has signed a three-year contract with Caykur Rizespor joining a plethora of African stars in the Turkish Super Lig, including Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli, Ivory Coast’s Gervinho, Tanzania’s Mbwana Samatta, Senegal’s Mbaye Diagne and DRC’s Fabrice Nsakala.