For the first time in the history of African football, fans will be able to watch the matches of the continent’s World Cup qualifiers for free thanks to a recent agreement with FIFA.
Starting from Wednesday, African football fans will be able to watch matches of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers for free on the internet after the world governing body, in partnership with CAF, centralized the media rights for the qualifiers.
To ameliorate the heavy burden on the African federations of producing the matches, FIFA has heavily invested in the television production of the qualifiers and will make the first round of matches available for free.
Matches will be streamed live on FIFA.com and FIFA’s YouTube channel, giving fans unfettered access which would have been hitherto available only to some pay-tv stations.
This is the first direct benefit of the appointment of Fatma Samoura as the FIFA Special Delegate for Africa as she seeks to revolutionize the game on the content to come abreast with the modern trends of the game.
Samoura, a Senegalese former UN diplomat, was appointed last month to lead a FIFA team to audit the structures within CAF and propose new ways to make Africa's governing body more effective in the wake of recent problems.
She looks to have hit the ground running with this landmark initiative by investing in the production of the broadcasting feed, thus giving fans in Africa and around the world unprecedented access to the African qualifiers.
All media rights, including to live, delayed and highlights coverage on all distribution platforms, will be marketed centrally by FIFA and all net revenues will be fully distributed to the African member associations.
Most federations previously struggle to sell their media rights if they are asked to retain the rights to their home matches as such Samoura came up with the plan to centralise the rights and generate bigger profits.
This comes as a massive boost to ordinary football fans who will be able to watch their teams as the qualifiers are played between 4 to 10 September.
Most of the 28 matches in the first round of the qualifiers will be shown for free, giving the fans the opportunity of watching their teams at their comfort especially with away matches which is normally not easy for travelling fans in Africa.
Bringing this exciting action to a global audience for the first time underscores FIFA’s ongoing digital transformation and its ongoing efforts to support football development in Africa and connect more fans with the beautiful game.
Both the home and away legs of the matches will be covered as the countries will fight to be among the 14 sides to join the rest of the 26 at group phase.
The first round of CAF qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will feature 28 teams competing for 14 slots in the group stage, where the 26 top-ranked teams await.
These opening fixtures include local rivalries between 2019 Africa Cup of Nations participants Burundi and Tanzania and a West African derby between Liberia and Sierra Leone.
As these qualifiers kick off around the continent, fans will be able to watch several of the first-round ties*, which will take place between 4 and 10 September 2019, live.
The live streams and on-demand replays of these first-round encounters will be on FIFA.com and FIFA’s YouTube channel. Bringing this exciting action to a global audience for the first time underscores FIFA’s ongoing digital transformation and its ongoing efforts to support football development in Africa and connect more fans with the beautiful game.
African qualifiers traditionally provide plenty of surprises and memorable matches. Four of the five African teams at Germany 2006 were debutants at the global finals, including Angola and Togo, who each enter the fray for Qatar 2022 with challenging encounters in the opening qualifying round against Gambia and Comoros respectively. Thirteen African nations have reached the FIFA World Cup in the competition’s history, with Brazil 2014 marking the first time that two countries from the continent had advanced to the knockout stage in the same edition. From George Weah and Samuel Eto’o to Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, some of the world’s best footballers past and present call Africa home.