Ready for kick-off— South Africa


As national coaches from Brazil to South Korea plot World Cup tactics, so too do the world’s journalists. Monocle visits Durban and Johannesburg to see how 18,000-plus writers, pundits and photographers will be accommodated.

2010, Brazil, South Korea, football

Part one: Durban

At Durban’s stunning Moses Mabhida stadium, South Africa’s national football team are taking on Namibia in one of their final practice matches before the World Cup begins on 11 June.

The footballers are not the only ones warming up. More than 100 journalists, including some from Brazil and China, are also going through their paces. In the press centre, high in the second tier of the main stand, radio and television commentators are road-testing the soundproof booths. Print journalists, sat along three rows in front of the comment…

01: Switzerland-based Host Broadcast Services (HBS) is responsible for filming and transmitting coverage of this year’s World Cup, it then sells footage to national networks.
02: A projected cumulative audience of 29.3 billion from 214 countries will watch the World Cup.
03: At each of the 64 matches there will be at least 29 cameras (three more than at the previous World Cup). Select matches will have three additional cameras and all footage will be shot in HD.
04: There will be 31 interview studios and 50 presentation studios across South Africa.
05: HBS estimates it will produce 2,700 hours of World Cup coverage, including live footage and features, 700 more than the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Q&A- Robert Marawa

Few broadcasters will be as busy during the World Cup as Robert Marawa. As well as hosting his daily radio show on Metro FM, a popular South African station, the 37-year-old will be one of the main presenters on SuperSport, the pan-African pay-TV broadcaster that has bought the continental rights to the World Cup. Marawa’s career began at SABC, South Africa’s state broadcaster, as a 24-year-old continuity announcer. Within a year he had become the main anchor for live football.

This will be your fourth World Cup in front of the camera. Will it feel any different with South Africa as hosts?
The World Cup is the pinnacle of football excellence. For that spectacle to happen here – and to be involved – is something very special. It awakens a different passion.

What are your plans for the World Cup?
With SuperSport, I’ll be anchoring the majority of the live matches from our studio. But we’re planning on doing the opening match from Soccer City [Johannesburg’s new stadium]. As much as possible I want to take the radio show out of the studio and be where the people are.

How much research do you do?
I started general research after the draw in December: players, coaches, formations. I follow what’s happening in each country. By the time it gets to kick-off I will have done all the work. I don’t like having to quickly go through things just before I go on air.

It’s a big moment for South Africa. Will you find it difficult to remain impartial?
My general approach is to present it as it is. You remain positive about South Africa but as an individual you need to come across as authoritative; I’m selling analysis and information, not emotion.


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