5 February 2013

South Africa: Journalists Keen to Work At Afcon

Durban — I mentioned earlier that security has been understandably tight around most team's hotels and training bases at the Orange Nations Cup.

And it had to be to cope with the daring band of journalists that follow every detail about teams and players here.

I remember one reporter last week, who adopted a high-risk policy in the hope of being rewarded with that extra snippet of news about the Ivorian team.

He attempted to hide in trees that overlook the team's training ground in a bid to grab a sneak peek into the Elephants' match strategy ahead of the Nigeria game.

Unluckily for him, he was spotted by a security guard and politely requested to return to his designated area.

He wasn't lucky, but it's just an insight of some of the bold moves the media have decided to adopt to find news or access areas of relevance, even if it meant going bare knuckles.

Fake translators:

There was a shocking incident that took place during one press briefing, where a Togolese journalist shouted at an interpreter, who had horribly lost the entire translation of what Togo Coach Didier Six had been saying.

After the Tunisia game, Six spoke, then the translator said something along these lines: "We knew it was going to be easy. Tunisia are a good team but we are better. We play nice. We play good"

The reporters that knew French and knew that Six had not said that, burst out protesting.

Six had no choice but to conduct the briefing himself in both French and English, to the relief of the Anglophone reporters.

A majority of the media press conferences here have been conducted in French because it remains one of the official CAF/FIFA languages.

In fact, during the 2010, World Cup media briefings were also addressed in French, Portuguese and Italian but unlike then, there has not been any sound translation here. A majority of us have had to rely on second or third parties to relate to us what was being said in French.

I know CAF has traditionally been Francophone, but with the Nations Cup in an English-speaking country like South Africa, it would have been fitting to identify professional translators rather than employ masqueraders.

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