Local Football updates startup, FootballZone, has announced the launch of its Afcon 2013 mobile app that went live in the Nokia Ovi Store last week. According to FootballZone cofounder, Godwin Chiparaushe, soccer fans in Africa will now be able to follow the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on their phones via the app.
The app, which can be installed on al Nokia feature phones and smartphones provides live text commentary for all matches, group standings, fixtures, match results, full team profiles and detailed tournament statistics for the tournament.
Africa’s biggest soccer showcase, the Africa Cup of Nations kicks on Saturday 19 January in South Africa. According to FootballZone, the live commentary feature will be quite useful as fans will be able to follow matches on the go wherever they are. This they say is useful as many of the group matches start at 1700hrs when people are traveling home from work.
FootballZone is one of the 3 winners of last year ZOL Jumpstart Challenge, a tech startup competition held annually for Zimbabwean startups by Jumpstart.
We caught up with Chiparaushe to get more information about the app and below is our brief QnA with him:
TZ: When you say any Nokia phone, you obviously mean those on the net.
Godwin: Yes from feature phones to smart phones that can access net
TZ: Why Nokia? Why exclude everyone else?
Godwin: Well the plan was to have for all platforms including android and Samsung as well as the iOS and BlackBerry but finances and resources wise, it was too much. It takes time coz to get an app on and well run. It takes time and efficiency.
TZ: What about just bypassing OSs and delivering via SMS and other basic technologies?
Godwin: We did think of that and the plan was to do via MNOs and we were working on that. But we could not get a deal in place with the MNOs. We will be doing that possibly by coming season.
At the end of the day when finances and resources were an issue we decided to pursue the most popular handsets in Africa and initially we wanted to do Nokia and Samsung but we only managed Nokia.
TZ: What has been the growth of visitors and engagement so far on the website?
Godwin: It’s stabilised due to the local league being off season and has not been exponentially increasing like it was but with Afcon about to start we have been focusing on that and there is more interest there.
TZ: And you are targeting more than just Zim with Afcon content on the site as well as the Mobile App?
Godwin: Yes and it’s been doing okay. Our bias is local but we tend to cover continental and international we were really wishing Zim would have qualified.
TZ: How okay has it been doing?
Godwin: We average about 300 downloads per day. It’s been up for about a week and a half and we actually have had a total of 6,900 downloads 4,300 from Nokia Store & 2600 from Opera Store. We are doing a lot of SEO and it seems its helping a lot. Just sharing on African football pages as well.
TZ: What have been some of the challenges you have faced with your startup so far?
Godwin: World over it’s so difficult to begin and run a successful startup but in Zim it’s even harder. There are so many circumstances against you; finance is an issue, and the corporate world just does not want to engage u because you are an unknown startup even when the benefits to them are crystal clear. Chances of succeeding are drastically reduced. However we are determined to succeed and that’s not going to stop us we are on our way despite the circumstances.