The match between the Flames and Ethiopia which the hosts won 2-1
* First match between the Flames and Ethiopia and second between Ethiopia and Egypt
* It has not been by chance that CAF selected Mibawa Studios to beam its 2023 AFCON qualifier games
* It taken four years for us to break through because TV football production is probably one of the most expensive TV productions
By Duncan Mlanjira
After a long investment period of over four years, Mibawa Studios has come of professional age and managed to win the confidence of Confederation of African Football (CAF) to beam the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group D qualifiers at Bingu National Stadium last week.
When the schedule of last week’s fixtures to be televised live on SuperSport channel included that between the Flames and Rthiopia, Malawian fans thought the feed would be beamed by foreign content providers and it turned into such a pleasant news when they realised it was Mibawa Studios capturing the match and relaying the feed to CAF.
CAF was then feeding Supersport and other television stations across Africa and while CAF gave MBC TV the feed for the Flames’ second qualifier against Guinea away in Conakry, Mibawa Studios beamed Ethiopia’s match against the Pharaohs of Egypt — which was played under floodlights at Bingu National Stadium.
Ethiopia are using Bingu National Stadium as their home after their main home pitch was declared unfit but for the Flames away matches, they shall choose an alternative venue.
Thus from the successful broadcasting of the two CAF qualifiers at Bingu National Stadium, Mibawa Studios earned what Chief Executive Officer John Nthakomwa described as a satisfying earning of US$20,000.
At a live press conference on Monday at Mibawa Studios in Limbe where he unveiled plans that Mibawa has in investment and production of live football, Nthakomwa the coming in of CAF and having secured a commitment of income from the football production, they will now be making proposal to the Mibawa Board of Directors “to make an investment in equipment that will close the gap we currently have”.
He said Mibawa was approached by CAF, they were given some requirements, that included quality cameras and its production accessories as well as to submit recent local matches they had beamed organised by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Super League of Malawi (SULOM).
Having satisfied the African football governing body’s requirements — which as also approved by world football governing body, FIFA — Mibawa was given the nod the broadcast the two matches but CAF still sent its own producer, to supervise.
“The match between the Flames and Ethiopia was controlled by the CAF producer and as the game progressed he let our production manager, Tamandani Mkhwimba to take charge.
“Having been impressed with Tama and his crew, the CAF producer left the whole production between Ethiopia and Egypt — from which Ethiopia’s football federation also sold its rights to several TV stations in their own country and other African broadcasters.
“I must congratulate Tama and his whole Mibawa football production crew for the wonderful work they did, that has earned Malawi as a country that can match some international football producers in Africa.”
Nthakomwa said they embarked on this journey four years ago whose mission was to develop local football production in order for CAF and FAM not to rely on foreign production companies to come to Malawi.
“We wanted to begin to monetize the industry [and] it has taken four years, which is a long time because football production is probably one of the most expensive television productions when it comes to investment in terms of equipment and human resources.
“In Malawi, all those that have embarked in football production have experienced major losses since football is provided for free in a market where advertising income is very low to justify the investment.
“Mibawa Studios, however, took the risk while incurring losses as our goal was to build capacity slowly to reach a level that we can deliver football up to international standards.”
In making their proposal to Mibawa Board for further equipment investment, Nthakomwa said it will enable them “to deliver a much higher standard of local and international football productions”.
“The investment would also allow us to operate two [technologically equipped] Outside Broadcasting (OB) vans enabling a wider coverage of local football on Mpira TV.”
He made a special appeal to Malawians football fans, that they need to subscribe to Mpira TV, saying this concept by FAM and SULOM is “to allow the teams to develop by having enough resources to grow, invest in and reward their players”.
“This would also allow for a continued development in the quality of our live football productions,” Nthakomwa said, while applauding FAM, SULOM and other stakeholders “who recognise the efforts that Mibawa Studios is making in uplifting the production of local and international football”.
“When we wanted to give up, they encouraged us to keep going and that it is why we are here today.
“We would also like to thank our viewers for supporting, encouraging and giving us constructive criticism — this has given us the fire to keep on pushing forward despite major challenges in this industry.