COSAFA makes special recognition of FA Malawi officer Zakazaka

As part of the COSAFA Under-17 legacy, a workshop for practicing journalists was organized by COSAFA  Media Group in conjunction with Football Association (FAM) and Football Journalists Association (AFJA) held at Mpira Village in Blantyre where all the U-17 games were played.

The media participants
The training session

At the end of the journalists workshop, COSAFA Media Group made a special mention in its report on Competitions & Communications Director Gonezgani Zakazaka.

Zakazaka, a journalist who once worked for The Nation newspaper, is a darling to football journalists as he is always on his feet in organising press conferences and assisting with vital information of FAM’s competitions.

“It was great meeting you all yesterday, thank you for attending the FAM/COSAFA Media Workshop, and your invaluable inputs.

“A big word of thanks goes to Mr Gome Zakazaka. In our humble opinion and experience, he is also a great exponent of an officer, who takes most seriously his duty in engaging with the media in the most professional and constructive manner,” says a statement from COSAFA.

On his part, Zakazaka said he feels so humbled that this is how COSAFA Media Group think of FAM’s delivery of work.

“These are really words of encouragement because they motivate me and the rest of us at FAM to work harder so that we handle issues professionally.

“I’ve learnt a lot from the COSAFA Media Group in the way they handle issues at every COSAFA tournament. They seriously take issues of linking up with the media that it is informed because it is our link to the public.

“That’s the same approach we are adopting as we aim to be very professional at all levels of the game to take our games seriously.

“This is not not just play as it is taken by some circles, this is a serious industry and as such it should be treated with the mentality that it is a serious business.

“So it is really encouraging to hear such words from COSAFA Media Group and we will continue to working hard to ensure that we keep our media informed, keep our media updated and we keep maintaining good working relationships with the media.

“Without the media the public cannot know what programmes we have we can’t be known

FJA president Joy Ndovi of the Nation Publication, thanked COSAFA Media Group and FAM for organising the workshop, saying it was fantastic to learn from reputable veteran football journalists sharing their experiences with them.

“What made the workshop unique is that it concentrated on modern trends in football journalism such us use of social media platforms like twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

“For most of the participants this was their first-ever workshop and I am sure they learned a lot. We look forward to better football reporting,” he said.

FJA was formed early this year and has quite a rich and vibrant pool of journalists, whom Ndovi described as meticulous in the job but have learnt quite some useful tips to make football reporting unique.

The workshop was facilitated by veteran journalists, Nick Said of COSAFA Media, Thomson Reuters, ESPN and SuperSport as well as Velile Mnyandu of SABC Sport, LIMAr Media.

Topics handled included roles and responsibility of journalists, planning for stories and how to handle an aggressive or non-compliant interviewee, a scenario many journalists encounter from many football administrators.

In many instances, journalists face hostilities from coaches that has lost a game or his job, a player that has axe to grind with the media as well as an association president who is under fire.

“You need to be prepared for this. Never go in guns blazing but be ‘low-key’ with your first two or three questions. The interviewee may be expecting hostility from you, so let them know you are not going for the jugular,” said Nick.

During the topic of dealing with FAM, the delegates shared with the facilitators that Zakazaka and other directors like CEO Alfreda Gunda and marketing director Limbani Matola that they try as much as possible to make their jobs easier.

There was also a Skype interactive session with world-renowned African football journalist, Mark Gleeson, the common feature of Africa Cup of Nations as a commentator.

COSAFA also held a four-day Administration and Management course at Mpira Village that attracted over 30 local-based football administrators affiliated to FAM.

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