South Africans have Springboks' 2019 World Cup win on repeat

By Sibusiso Mjikeliso Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - When Tiger Woods won his first Masters green jacket in 1997 by an incredible 12 shots, he broke golfing great Jack Nicklaus’ 32-year Augusta National record by a shot to post a total of 270 for the tournament.

Seven years earlier, Woods would not have been allowed to be a club member at Augusta National for being black. But when he won, his now late father Earl, said: “Green and black go together well, don’t they?”

This is one of the top sporting moments of the past that SuperSport chief executive Gideon Khobane, who is tasked with navigating the sports broadcaster out of choppy waters during this sporting recession, would like to relive. That Sunday was not as eventful as one would imagine. Woods maintained nothing less than an eight-shot lead heading into the turn, but all the rounds before comprised of 37 holes where he didn’t drop a single shot and didn’t find the bunker until early that Sunday.

“I’d love to sit and watch it again,” said Khobane. “US golf typically gets broadcast at night here in South Africa, so you only get bits and pieces of it and maybe watch the final round to see who the winner is.

“Now I want to watch basically every shot of that tournament and see the drama behind it as well.”

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the sporting calendar, with sweeping cancellations and postponements of major local and international sporting events.

The English Premier League and PSL were coming to thrilling conclusions before the respective leagues were postponed for at least six weeks, with Liverpool in line to win their first league title in 30 years and Kaizer Chiefs set to win their first top-flight championship in five years.

As a result, social media has been abuzz with wish lists of sporting events fans would love to relive. Although it’s impossible to replicate the thrill of the moment, those past events often bring up personal anecdotes or footnotes from people’s lives, tinged with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

“Instead of just sitting on our hands and just repeating random sporting events channel by channel, we thought of curating our channels,” Khobane explained.

SuperSport chief executive Gideon Khobane is tasked with navigating the sports broadcaster out of choppy waters during this sporting recession. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“We’ve opened SuperSport 1 to Compact subscribers and that’s where all our documentaries and archive content’s going to sit. We are also going to be introducing sports movies in the coming days. We are also doing live studio shows, trying to make something out of nothing basically, where everyday from 5pm to 9pm we’ll have a different theme, such as boxing, rugby and soccer.

“We have special guests analysing some special moments of that genre. And, of course, we are asking the Twitter community to tell us their favourite sports moments from any decade and we want to play those for them.

“The rest of the channels are themed into specific sporting codes, like SuperSport 5 is our golf channel and SuperSport 2 is our rugby and cricket channel, where you’ll find last year’s Rugby World Cup.”

Khobane’s had to “suffer” through Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Motaung’s wedding on Showmax after ceding the remote control to his wife, pretty much like all husbands around the world.

Sports nuts could soon be engrossed in Darcey Silva and Tom Brooks’ love drama or the chronicles of Michael Ilesanmi and Angela Deem in the hit reality series 90 Day Fiance.

But if you use the emergency hashtag, #SSrelive, you could put your favourite sporting events on television for a bit of a reprieve.

“I love boxing as well and I really wanted Manny Pacquiao to fight Floyd Mayweather when he was at his peak,” Khobane added.

“When they eventually fought, I felt Pacquiao was on the downslope and that’s why Mayweather won.

“Whenever I’m feeling down or I’m sad, I watch last year’s Rugby World Cup final in Xhosa. Xhosa commentary has changed the enjoyment of rugby and taken it away from what’s happening on the field.”

Some critics on social media have slammed MultiChoice Group’s opening of SuperSport 1 to Compact subscribers now that there is no live sport, but Khobane reckons you will never please everybody at a time like this.

What could possibly assuage that apprehension is the fact that the subscription broadcaster is working on developing its own sporting documentaries in the same fashion as ESPN’s 30 for 30 series that is on their channels at the moment.

Top of the bill, of course, is the 2019 Springbok Rugby World Cup journey, which no South African can get enough of.

“We are working with SA Rugby to make a documentary on last year’s World Cup,” Khobane said.

“We shot a lot of stuff behind the scenes. We had a camera guy embedded with the team and we have all that footage from the first alignment camp.

“It’s in the works. We figured that the Boks were going to have one or two endings: winning the World Cup or coming close. Either way, it would have been an emotional story to tell.”


The Star

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