It’s a Sunday afternoon and Dynamos are playing Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium. Stubborn Rhinos stay true to their name. For the better part of the game, they show resilience and threaten to put the Glamour Boys to the sword.
And then Bill Antonio happens. “How on earth has the defender let Bill turn him, find the time to accelerate and still leave Rhinos defenders for dead?” says Ntando Nsikane in her analysis with David Maketo.
Forget that Bill moment of brilliance! It’s about Ntando, apparently.
The ZTN sports anchor has given Zimbabwe football a kiss on the cheek. And the station has done likewise, and even more – a kiss of life as it were. On reflection, this was uncharted territory for the station during its formative years. But the guts to plunge into the deep end is all that mattered.
And as Ntando hosts different analysts on Live Football weekly, one gets the impression the transition was smooth. She is a new face and voice for Zimbabwean football. For a moment, she helps one forget the challenges facing the game and football productions.
“I think it is time to give players a chance to be seen across the world, and I’m happy to be associated with the game, getting to learn every day,” she says.
Ntando is not the only new face of ZTN Live football. Patience Nhamburo has shown unmatched passion on the pitch side. Charmaine Chasweka and Chido Manuwa have all been heavily involved. Star FM’s Tafadzwa “Mr Tich” Tichawangana has given studio anchoring an important variation with his vast knowledge of the game. More Moyo, Charles Mushinga and Maketo have featured consistently as analysts.
The commentary side has however retained experience, particularly from Star FM, which is also under the Zimpapers group. ZTN Head of Sport Howard Musonza, Star FM’s Steve Vickers and Ash Tikiwa are the usual suspects with their flawless commentary.
“The blend of experience and new faces works perfectly well. The most important thing is to find a balance and meet audience demands,” says Executive Producer, Mugove Chigada.
“The market continues to change with competition from other leagues across the world. So, any chance to add something unique to a production makes a difference.” The beauty about the production team is the unity and ability to work under minimum supervision. One will occasionally notice Technical Director Francis Mwendamberi strolling in the stadium upon arrival, visibly in deep thought – calm before the storm. And then one will also not miss senior camerapersons George Chitere and Dzikamai Mandizvidza teasing each other.
“Iwe George!” Mandizvidza will quickly shout, indicating let’s now get down to business. Another senior cameraperson, Collin Chizumba, is not given to nerves. And at every opportunity he gets, he tries to impart knowledge to others.
During the tough times, the likes of Tawanda Bote, Munyaradzi Chamalimba, Nelson Gwese and Norris Nkatazo have been strong behind the camera. The first female cameraperson for this production was Sandra Kaunjika and then the likes of Tatenda Kuvheya and Portia Kambali followed. Joachim Chauruka, who operated the Three-Play from the onset before his departure, was instrumental in many aspects of the production. Tinashe Mapuranga and Tafadzwa Muronzerei have since taken over. Ngoni Shumba, Denise Bernard and Martin Mangwanya have been the sound engineers.
Since 2021, part of the crew that has done graphics include Tinaye Makichi and Aquilla Sammy who designed most of the templates. Others who followed include Tendai Mainga, Gareth Masuka, Talent Vhurumutiya, Munyaradzi Dhure and Bruce Ngena. Whichever way you look at it; this is a production in its infancy. There will be more developments and transformations.