BY BILLY SUTER
THE History Channel is soon to launch a worldwide, 14-day, 24/7 television event – an exclusive pop-up channel that is to be featured on DStv as part of the run-up to the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
To be found on DStv’s channel 187 from May 28 to June 10, the channel will be known as History of Football. It will be available to DStv customers on DStv Premium, Compact Plus and Compact packages.
History of Football, which is also to air in more than 160 territories around the world, will offer more than 40 hours of content. This will be a blend of global and local programming.
As part of the 14-day programming event, the History Channel will air original, globally-focused premium documentary series, short-form specials and a selection of Fifa World Cup films.
David Villa, one of the most decorated players in the world, is the global press spokesman.
“As a passionate football player, I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand how much football means to so many people and how it affects people’s lives,” he saod.
“History of Football, told so comprehensively, is a remarkable initiative. I am thrilled and honored to work on this fantastic television event, because it gives my fellow players, coaches and myself, an opportunity to talk about what the game means to us and to re-live so many incredible memories.”
History channels around the world will also broadcast locally-sourced television series and documentaries that will offer a unique lens into each country’s passion for football.
Said Yolisa Phahle, chief executive officer for General Entertainment for Multichoice: “The story of football is great family entertainment and we’re delighted to be part History’s global event.
“This pop-up channel is exclusive to DStv customers in Africa and is the perfect build-up to the full-on action that will unfold during the football World Cup tournament that we’ll be broadcasting in June, on several dedicated SuperSport channels.”
Highlights of the talent line-up for History of Football include profiles on Pelé, the only player to win three Fifa World Cups; Ryan Giggs, the most decorated player in British history and current manager of the Wales national team; Gary Lineker, England’s record holder for goals scored in finals; and internationally renowned sports broadcaster, Louis Van Gaal, former manager of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Ajax Amsterdam and Holland.
Also keep an eye out for Philipp Lahm, captain of Germany during the 2014 Fifa World Cup and current Bayern Munich player; Claudio Ranieri, former manager of Leicester City, during their 2016 English Premier League win and current head coach of Nantes; Roy Hodgson, current manager of Crystal Palace in the English Premier League and former manager of England; and Michael Owen, former striker for Manchester United and the England national team.
Also featured will be players from the Fida World Cup winning teams of 1970, 1978, 1990, 1998 and 2014, including the likes of Rivellino, Mario Kempes, Lothar Matthaus, Paul Breitner, Toto Schillaci, Emanuel Petit, Christian Karembeu, Manuel and Philip Lahm.
Series on the pop-up channel will include:
History’s Greatest Moments in Footbal – A documentary that chronicles the teams and players in recent World Cup history.
Football Godfathers – Five powerful documentaries delving into the minds and strategies of the world’s greatest and most revered club managers, revealing how they rose – often from relatively undistinguished playing careers – to become the global superstars of the sport we know today.
Football’s Greatest: Head to Head – A series that matches up the greatest players of yesteryear with the greatest of today, to find out once and for all, who is the greatest of them all. Every generation has an opinion on who is the world’s greatest player. With an expert panel of World Cup players and winners, and using hard science of statistics, as well as the romance of style and passion, this series will set out to resolve the most vexing question in sport.
Local content will hone in on the cultural nuances which drive the passion for the game for some of football’s most avid fan bases. Below is a small glimpse of the localised African programming set to roll out:
The History of Football in Africa – This 48-minute documentary explores the origins of ‘the beautiful game’ on the African continent. It captures how a sport forced on the people by their colonial masters became a tool for nation building. It then developed into the most popular game on the continent, giving rise to some of the world’s most renowned footballing greats, and spoiling audiences with some of the most memorable moments the greatest game has had to offer.
Making World Cup History – This 24-minute special tells the story of the first Fifa Soccer World Cup to be held on the African continent. It explores the turbulent political and sporting past of the host nation, South Africa, with key insights from those involved in dragging a new democracy from the fringes of sporting obscurity and thrusting it into the glare of the world’s greatest show.They successfully pulled off the best ida World Cup in history in spite of the magnitude of the task.
Short films lined up for the pop-up channel include:
Greatest African Rivalries – A documentary that focuses on some of the greatest African football rivalries as talked about by some of the players involved through the years. From international clashes to local derbies, our commentators give their views of these blood and thunder moments.
Fast Facts – A series of short factual/graphics-driven info segments giving viewers a small insight into the facts and figures that illuminate the growth of African football and footballers over the last century.
The Scout – A look at Piet De Visser, who is considered one of the greatest football scouts in the world. He is credited with finding global footballing superstars such as Jaap Stam, David Luiz, Marc Overmars, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne. Here, he reveals his secrets for the first time.
The Referee – A profile on Jawahir Jewels, who has been described as one of the most remarkable referees in England. At 23, she is the only FA-qualified female ethnic Muslim official currently working in the game, where she regularly tackles rowdy players at pitches on the infamous Hackney Marshes in East London
The Prodigy – Four-year-old Marco Antonio might be young, but his football skills have many already calling him the next Neymar. His parents see his skill with the ball as a ticket out of one of Rio de Janeiro’s toughest favelas. But his promising future career hangs perilously in the balance due to severe intestinal problems that require medical expertise not available in his country.