SABC1 (*191) 21:00 SPort
When it comes to local soccer, Thomas Mlambo is the goalscoring king as the presenter of sport show SoccerZone (2002-current). And it’s no surprise – he’s been playing “the beautiful game” since childhood, but soccer wasn’t his only sporting love… “You name it and I played it – rugby, cricket, tennis! I did it all – but soccer is my passion.”
Has soccer always been your favourite? Yes, I developed my love for the sport from my dad, he was an amateur soccer player. I took part in all the sporting codes that I could but I really excelled at soccer. I played for Wits University until the under-19 development level. So why did you stop? I was forced to drop out due to a knee injury. I still enjoy a game for charities now and then – and I still have that strikers instinct! [Laughs] How did you get into presenting? I was studying law at University Of Johannesburg – it was still Rand Afrikaans University then – and I was working on campus radio. I came across a newspaper ad for a TV sports presenter job, so I applied and got it. I was the first black on-screen talent. I paid my dues by doing the graveyard shift and eventually got rewarded with being studio anchor for live soccer matches. Over the years I’ve also kept up to date with various broadcasting and communication courses just to continue with my self development. What’s the biggest misconception about presenting a sport show? That we simply arrive and go on air. There’s no such thing as being a natural in sports presenting. It’s hard work. I do hours of prep and research before every match and interview. I’ll even phone clubs and coach to get clarity on an issue so that I understand it.