Safa acting CEO Russell Paul. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IMAGES
Safa acting CEO Russell Paul. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IMAGES

The SA Football Association (Safa) and the SABC have clinched a four-year deal that will see the return of Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana matches on the public broadcaster’s channels.

The news will come as a relief to football lovers‚ especially those without access to pay-TV‚ who have watched Bafana Bafana and other national teams sporadically since 2018.

Safa confirmed on Sunday that the agreement is for the broadcast rights of junior and senior national team matches and other properties owned by the football governing body.

The agreement will cover:

• Six Bafana matches (three home Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers; two international friendlies and the Nelson Mandela Challenge);

• Five Banyana Banyana home friendly matches‚ inclusive of the Winnie Mandela Challenge;

• Domestic competitions including; the Under-19 women’s national championship final‚ Burger King Under-20 national championships final‚ Under-23 men’s national championships finals‚ ABC Motsepe national play-offs final‚ KAY Motsepe schools final‚ Futsal and Beach football national championships finals;

• Sasol women’s league finals and various Safa national women’s league matches;

• A weekly Safa magazine show; and

• The Safa annual awards.

SABC group CEO Madoda Mxakwe said: “In negotiating this deal with Safa‚ the SABC needed to find a balance between fulfilling its public mandate and entering into an agreement which was commercially viable.

‘‘We understand the role we play in promoting sports of national interest and inspiring the next generation of sports stars.”

Safa’s broadcast agreement with the cash-strapped SABC expired in April 2018 and national team matches played at home disappeared off TV screens as the public broadcaster tried to come to grips with crippling debt.

SuperSport was able to plug the gap in some instances and televised away national team matches‚ including Bafana‚ Banyana and junior national teams’ participation in international tournaments.

Safa president Danny Jordaan welcomed the agreement.

Acting Safa CEO Russell Paul said they had worked hard to end the impasse. ‘‘We are extremely delighted that the nation will finally get to see Bafana and Banyana on SABC screens again‚” he said.