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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.

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