ESPN Africa welcomes start of European football season 2021 / 2022

ESPN Africa welcomes start of European football season
Mbwana Samatta Fenerbahce

African stars shine as Scottish Premiership, English Football League, Eredivisie and Turkish Super Lig are set to broadcast live across Africa

ESPN is giving football fans across the continent plenty to look forward to when the 2021/22 European football season gets underway later this month. Several of Europe’s premiere leagues including the Scottish Premiership, English Football League, Eredivisie and Turkish Super Lig will air on ESPN (DStv 218, Starsat 248) across Africa, bringing the adrenalin-filled action from the pitch live to viewers.

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 14:30. 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  Fulham following 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 20:45. Blackburn Rovers will play Swansea City at 16:00, with Charlton Athletic playing against Sheffield Wednesday at 18:30 and Sheffield United taking on Birmingham City at 21:00. On Sunday 8 August, Fulham will play Middlesbrough at 14:30 after which Coventry City will face Nottingham Forest from the Richo Arena at 17:30, with all of these matches broadcasting live. Thereafter, ESPN will air the matches on Saturdays at 13:30 and 16:00 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 18:45 while Ajax Amsterdam will face NEC Nijmegen later that day at 21:00. SC Cambuur will play FC Groningen the following day at 12:30, with Willem II taking on Feyenoord at 16:45. Thereafter ESPN will broadcast selected Eredivisie matches, including those played by Champions Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord as well as the 12:30 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.

“In our ongoing commitment to offer fans an unprecedented portfolio of sporting leagues, ESPN Africa is thrilled to be bringing the very best, live on-field action from these premiere European football leagues,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “From the thrill on the pitch, to the excitement behind the scenes, to the vibrant club culture, fans of all ages can look forward to a thrilling season.” she added.

How to tune in:

ESPN: DStv 218, Starsat 248

All schedules subject to change, please check local listings

* Note: All broadcast timeslots above are provided in CAT / South African standard time.