Hanging with: Carol Manana

2010-03-13 12:12

THE interview . . . I love this, ­being outside, in the sun. Park interviews are awesome. I hate stuffy coffee shop interviews because all you want to do is leave; here (outside) I want to stay around much longer.

Her broadcasting career . . . I didn’t plan on being a sports ­commentator; I knew I wanted to be on TV but I was not sure how. I did some voice-overs for the SABC and they were impressed and I got onto Sports Buzz where I learnt about soccer and cricket at a grassroots level and I progressed from there.

Being a woman in a man’s world . . . Initially it was a huge problem being a young black woman in the industry. Fans can be ruthless because they assume you don’t know anything about their sport. I was heavily quizzed by fans and I had to prove myself. In terms of perception, many of the soccer players and coaches weren’t used to me – some of them even tried asking me out and interviews in dressing rooms were a little bit difficult. Now things are a lot different, they are fantastic and I feel like I’ve earned the respect of my male counterparts.

Hosting the Fifa World Cup draw . . . I didn’t realise how many people would be watching and I didn’t realise how many dignitaries would be there. A lot of hype was made over Charlize Theron and David Beckham but I took the whole thing in my stride .

Being a mother of three . . . I’ve got good family support and a great partner who is understanding and very helpful when it comes to my career. Also I talk to my kids about everything I’m doing and where I’m going so they know exactly where I am and why I’m doing it.

Downtime . . . I prefer to spend good quality time with family and I value that because I am not always around.

Lessons from the last Fifa World Cup . . . I learnt that this event can really change a nation. The Germans were ashamed of themselves because of their past but when the World Cup came around, they felt proud and it really brought them ­together.

South Africa hosting the event. . . There will always be negative publicity surrounding the event, ­especially any event held in Africa. At this point there are only five ­European countries which are ready to host the event so the ­criticism may be intense but it’s normal for any country to experience it.

Advice for women during the World Cup
. . . Leave your man alone! Forget the TV remote and ­forget your soapies because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So get out of the house, go to fan parks, dress your kids up and just enjoy the experience, even if you don’t ­understand what is going on, just get into it.

Predictions for the World Cup
. . . I’d say look out for Germany, Brazil, France and from Africa, if I had to be realistic, I’d say look out for Ghana, they stand a chance of winning.

She’s looking forward to . . . Meeting (France striker) Thierry Henry during the World Cup. He is a classy player and quite hot too! 

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