Sunderland AFC’s next home game will see African pundits commentating in Swahili at the Stadium of Light for the first time ever.
The Premier League football ground will become the latest place that BBC Swahili’s ‘Ulimwengu wa Soka’ programme will visit, allowing African fans to follow the action live in their own language, reported The Northern Echo.
If the commentary of veterans Charles Hilary and Salim Kikeke at the Sunderland versus Manchester City game on New Year’s Day is successful, it could open the door to the creation of more bilingual jobs in football, with London boasting a significant number of teams that could follow this lead.
David Stead, sports editor for BBC Global News Languages, said: “Asamoah Gyan’s victory in the BBC African Footballer of the Year award last year really put Sunderland on the map for audiences in Africa. With Manchester City riding so high this season, listeners to BBC Swahili should really enjoy listening to this commentary in their own language.”
According to the Jarrow & Hepburn Gazette, former player and current international development head at Sunderland Niall Quinn has described it as a “huge honour” for the club to be able to broadcast live to African fans.
He pointed out that the Premier League is popular all over the world and there are hundreds of millions of people who tune in every week to follow the high-profile competition.