FOUR exciting young media practitioners, Thulani “Javas” Sibanda, Ronald Moyo, Chido Chizondo and Tapiwa Marime are enjoying living their childhood dream.
As the country celebrated the Youth Month, the quartet had fulfilled their dreams by working for prominent Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs Bulawayo Chiefs, Highlanders, FC Platinum and Chicken Inn. It has always been a dream for the four to venture into the media industry.
Today, they are living that and the feeling is indescribable.
Sibanda is a media officer at Chiefs, while Moyo and Chizondo occupy the same role at Bosso and FC Platinum respectively.
Marime, a former goalkeeper for PSL clubs that include Hwange and FC Platinum is a Midlands State University Media (MSU) Media and Society Studies graduate who is in charge of the administrator’s office at Gamecocks.
Add to the list, there is Bulawayo City public relations officer Thandiwe Moyo, a former Chronicle and NewsDay sports reporter.
“I am a former NewsDay attache. After going through the mill I was greatly inspired to be a sports reporter by Fortune Mbele and other senior journalists that include Kholwani Nyathi and Njabulo Ncube. I never thought that one day I would form part and parcel of what happens at the stadium.
“I am happy to be an extension of Highlanders communication department that now boasts of an official website, Twitter handle and a Youtube channel. I will not tire and I am happy to say we are taking strategic steps in setting up an online store among other projects,” said Ronald, a 2015 Media and Society Studies graduate with MSU.
He joined Highlanders in 2018 after completing his Master of Science (Msc) Degree in Journalism and Media at National University Science of Technology (Nust) in the same year.
This was after he had served ex-Premiership side Bantu Rovers as their media liaison officer for six months. Ronald’s job description is to take care of the club’s communication needs.
“When I wake up in the morning, I check what is trending online in terms of the stories that have to do with the club. I then go out to check newspapers, to create content that media houses would like to pick up. I regularly monitor and update the Highlanders website and social media pages. On match days, I get to the stadium early to prepare team sheets, and prepare what is needed before the team bus arrives,” he said.
Sibanda, a member of the globe-trotting Bulawayo Arts ensemble Siyaya attained his first journalism qualification in 2002.
After a series of media related academic stints in the United Kingdom, Sibanda says his soft spot for football has always assisted him to execute his daily duties well at Bulawayo Chiefs.
“I think it is prudent for football clubs to have young media officers. I’m also happy that the general members of the public have welcomed my work at Bulawayo Chiefs. I didn’t think that things would turn out this way and every day, I always look forward to communicating something new to this football loving nation,” said Sibanda.
Touted as the PSL’s Twitter Kings, Chiefs’ recent launch of an online store in a bid to grow their brand beyond the country’s borders has posed huge challenges to other local clubs.
Chiefs launched their online shop last Tuesday to service the club’s followers around the world.
They have been trendsetters on the digital platform, as they were the first club to have a Twitter handle verified two years ago, edging the PSL old guard of Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United.
They have the largest following on Twitter with over 32 000 due to their savvy tweets despite the team actually struggling in the domestic premiership.
With the country in lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak and players having been training individually, Chizondo, who was introduced to the world’s most beautiful game by his father at the tender age of three, has been hard at work taking charge of FC Platinum social responsibility programmes in the small mining town of Zvishavane.
“I have a public relations background and I was groomed into a FC Platinum media officer by the football loving Platinum family. Our former coaches that include Tenant Chilumba and Lloyd Mutasa and other administrators held my hand in this challenging environment. This was after the now Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando formerly with Mimosa Mine hand-picked me to take charge of the club’s public relations,” said Chizondo.
She oversees the Pure Platinum Play social media platforms and facilitates players’ interviews with different media houses.
“Apart from work, I am a person who likes sports and that is what made me like this job,” she said.