The new media has ushered in a new age of digital communication with a global reach and the sporting fraternity should make use of this phenomenon primarily the Division One soccer league which has not been receiving mainstream media coverage.
In Zimbabwe, where only one television station ZBC TV exists, it has been impossible to cover soccer matches from the Division One side as there is a bias towards the Premier Soccer League.
Most European leagues have embraced online live streaming on Facebook and YouTube which has increased their fan base across the world and also reduced the rate of dubious decisions by match officials as they will be on the spotlight.
Recently Masvingo United Football Club (FC) introduced livestreaming during their home game against Surrey FC at Mucheke Stadium as they target to broaden their fan base throughout the country and also the diaspora community.
The match was livestreamed on the Wezhira Community Radio Facebook page and was a welcome development to local football fans.
Tinashe Gundura, a football fan who watched the match online said live streaming was the way to go as little attention is being given to division one teams by the mainstream media.
“It is very rare to see a Division One match being beamed on ZBC-TV so live streaming is a very good initiative which can improve our football standards in terms of officiating and also market the talent at these teams,” said Gundura.
Masvingo United spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said the club was on a drive to reach out to all their fans across the world and also expose bad officiating in the lower league.
“We have a large fan base, some are in the diaspora and cannot be at Mucheke Stadium physically so we decided to take advantage of technology to bring the game to their homes and offices. Also, we saw it as a way to expose poor officiating by match officials because we believe in fair play so we want the world to see that,” said Mtimba.
He also said the initiative will also help attract scouts from topflight league teams and potential sponsors.
“The initiative will help us attract scouts from other topflight teams around the world and potential sponsors since we are a financially struggling community team, this is another effective marketing methodology as we embrace ICT in the world of football,” Mtimba said.
Livestreaming creates a big fan base for the club online allowing the target audience to interact in real time and commenting while watching the match.
Match officials of Division One leagues have been at the heart of controversy making some costly decisions which have caused some matches to be abandoned before the stroke of 90 minutes.
Bad officiating seems to be now the trend in the football fraternity as referees continue to hog the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
In June this year the Southern region referees’ committee suspended Bhekithemba Moyo for officiating a first Division One game without caution cards and this caused mayhem throughout the match.
In the Eastern region, at least two matches have been abandoned so far this season, one between Greyham vs Masvingo United and the other, a Mutare derby, pitting army side Buffaloes and log leaders Tenax.
Both matches have been abandoned after match officials made some grave blunders and controversial decisions especially on awarding goals.
Football mother body Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) will have difficulties in giving the correct verdict on an abandoned match due to lack of oral evidence and will then depend on hearsay evidence.
However, if most teams in these lower leagues embrace online live streaming, this cancer of bad officiating can be cured before it spreads across the whole sports fraternity.