BBC Swahili’s flagship football programme, Ulimwengu wa Soka, will kick off the New Year with live commentary from the Sunderland vs Manchester City game on New Year’s Day.
This is the first time that the BBC Swahili weekend football programme will broadcast from Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
The team of producers and presenters on Ulimwengu wa Soka bring football news and live Barclays Premier League commentary to Swahili-speaking fans every weekend.
The two commentators who will be at the Stadium of Light, Charles Hilary and Salim Kikeke, are household names in East Africa and have commentated from both the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup.
BBC Swahili reporters across the region – in Zanzibar, Nairobi, Kampala and Dar es Salaam – join listeners who enjoy watching the matches in their localities while following the BBC Swahili commentary on radio.
This combination of the visual provided by TV coverage with the BBC Swahili commentaries has become the norm since 2004 when the BBC first started offering live Premier League commentary in Swahili.
Fans also use SMS and the BBC Swahili Facebook to share their thoughts and emotions as they follow their favourite English Premier League teams.
David Stead, Sports Editor for BBC Global News Languages, says: “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, and with Manchester City riding so high this season, listeners to BBC Swahili will really enjoy listening to this commentary in their own language”.
Niall Quinn, who now heads up international development on behalf of Sunderland AFC, added: “We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming the BBC World Service commentary team to the Stadium of Light.
“Sunderland is a football club that has traditionally enjoyed a huge support locally and we are now building on that core support as we look to grow and develop on an international stage.
“The Barclays Premier League is watched and enjoyed by hundreds of millions of fans around the world and for our football club to be recognised and supported across Africa is a huge honour. “