ONE ON ONE WITH SWOOSH:ALTAAF KAZI

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Swoosh:
Slmz Altaaf Kazee…….Its good to have you on the blog. It would be good to give our owes out there some of your experiences, thrills and spills that you have encountered on your travels both locally and abroad….Like I always said to see our owes making it out there definately warrants a space on my blog.Also I believe Cricket is your number 1 Sport,So Il grind you later in that department.. …..

Ok , I basically have to mention this from the OFF set….The phrase IM ALTAF KAZEE, THIS IS E-NEWS JHB….Now that you are at Supersport, Do you miss this line.
I must admit this line used to ring through my head everytime I watched the Sports news on E.
Altaaf Kazi:: I tell you it’s been almost 5 years since I left E-News and up until today people still come up to me and remind me of those days, some even think that I still work there. So obviously it had some impact at the start of the career and working for E News in Cape Town and in Joburg obviously set me up for the rest of my career. Yes, there are some days when I think about the good old days and imagine myself still being there now, but I’m happy where I am at Supersport, but will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me by the management of E-TV…Not many 18 year old fresh out of school can say they’ve worked and appeared on national television…
swoosh: How is Supersport. Is it a much more Challenging Environment than E-TV?
AK: I think different work environments have different challenges…I wouldn’t say it’s more challenging than E-TV considering that what I’m tasked to do at Supersport is very similar to what I did at E-TV…When I started in March 1999 at E-TV, we were still in our infancy stages as far as E-news was concerned….So lots of things were new to many people as we went about strving for a world class news bulletin etc….While Supersport has a host of established channels, channel 24 has been named the Blitz channel delivering 9 minute sport news bulletins at the top and bottom of the hours…For many people working on the Blitz channel, delivering news bulletins and writing reporting is a new concept…So basically, most of my time at Supersport you’ll find me working on the Blitz channel as I lend my experience and expertise into a growing product which I believe has lots of potential….
swoosh: So tell us more. You from Cape Town right.How did you get into sports Journalism, end up in Jozie? and Is there alot of pressures that go with journalism?The Pressures Of Travel & Family Life. ?
AK: Well in a nutshell, I am born and bred in Cape Town…started my career in broadcasting working for Radio 786 when I was 15. Matriculated in 1998…Was always a sport nut, had big ambitions of becoming an international cricketer, but when I failed to make the Western Province under 13 cricket team, I thought that was the end of the road…The next best thing for me was to become a sports journalist and travel the world, in that way I still get to go to the greatest sporting venues, only not play on the field, but still get an excellent view from the Media centre with free coffee, tea, drinks, lunch etc….Watched loads of news bulletins and read newspapers from a very young age (boring hey!!!) to get a fair idea of how the industry operates…Parents wanted me to study Bcomm accounts (Typical Indian) but hey, it’s the only time I defied them as I pursued my dreams and my goals…Dad reaps the benefits of this with free tickets to Newlands for rugby and cricket and mom sometimes too….So now they not complaining….Once I completed school, got a sort of intern position at E-News in 1999 and the rest was history….Thankfully a man named Jimi Matthews together with Eben Jansen decided that Joburg would be a great place for me to work, grow and gain experience….so in August 2000, myself and my dad drove to Joburg in my white, 4 speed 1.3 no power steering Tazz and I’ve been here ever since…
The biggest pressure in journalism we all know is deadlines…Gratefully, myself and deadlines became friends (I don’t think I’ve missed many)…Also being on TV at a very young age had it’s pressures, but having great mentors and guidance helped me survive (I think!!!)….
As for the pressures of traveling, well that aspect I really enjoyed. A foreign place is always a challenge for me and of course finding halal food and a mosque, but if I can give anyone advice, I would suggest travel as much as you can if you have the means to do so as you’ll leran so many more things to life and become more independent and open-minded …
Family life sees me having no kids yet, (insha-allah they’ll arrive) but a very understanding and tolerant wife…Yasmin and I got married just under 3 years ago, 3 weeks after I got back from the Athens Olympics…I think the key to me carrying on with this often demanding career has been Yasmin’s support and the fact that she understands my career fully. Often I’m away from home for up to two months, but she realises that this is my passion and what I enjoy and of course there’s more often than not a holiday for her as she joins me in a particular country after the event!!!!!
swoosh:I take it you have been around the World, Major Sporting Events etc. Which has been the best place you have visited and covered in a Sporting Context and also from a journalistic point of view. I mean how was the place, The People, The Facilities
AK: There’s so many places I’ve visited…Athens Olympics in 2004 will stand out for me as a brilliantly organised event…Although there were concerns they were not going to be ready in time, they actually were and it was a pleasure just to get around to all the venues hassle free and be part of a truly global and spectacular event…Also I thouroughly enjoyed Tunisia…I covered the African Cup of Nations in 2004 and there stadiums and atmosphere to the games was very much like you’ll find in europe…But I’ve made a point of finding enjoyment in every city and country I’ve been to…
swoosh: And the Worst?
AK: Los Angeles – I hate the Americans!!! Covered Corrie Sanders WBC heavyweight title fight against Vitali Klitschko – Lets put it this way, I’ve been twice to the States and I’m just glad my US Visa has expired!!!
swoosh: If you want, Can you tell us your most embarassi
ng,funny, moment you have encountered in your time?
AK: Well I was almost arrested in Tunisia (I won’t tell you why!!!) and apparently I was getting married in Nigeria at the All Africa Games according to a local paper!!!!
swoosh: Ok Altaf I know you married , But you can answer this for the Single guys out there. Tou know a guy like me HAS TO ASK YOU THIS.There must be plenty Badaams in the press rooms of all these events. I will go mad there? Are the Badaams friendly and …Well tell us more?
AK: Dude, you gonna get me into trouble, but to answer your questions I think it’s just right for any sporting event around the world to have beauties in the background and judging by your questions you’ll go into overdrive when you see them!!! Did I ever mention to you that I was once a judge to decide the ring girls for the Lennox Lewis-Hasim Rahman fight in South Africa in 2002!!!!!
swoosh: Sublime.Wish it was me. In the press rooms out there You Must be rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest Sporting Personalities and Journalism Guru’s from around the World. Can you highlight some of them for Us.?
AK: As you grow up and watch sports events from all over the world, you get to hear and read about legendary journalist and commentators. I’m glad to have met people like Richie Benaud, Geoffery Boycott in my time as well as the guru of boxing writers, Bert Sugar! I have yet to adopt a style from any of these legends of broadcasting and journalism as I try to find my own niche which hopefully can reach legendary status (ha ha ha) in a decade or two from now…I do lots of reading which is very important for my line of work so there are also other writers that I admire and also I’d still like to meet John Simpson one day!!!!
swoosh: Who was the most Famous Sporting Personality you have met to date?
AK: Many of them – Lennox Lewis, Don King, Will Smith (I know its not sport but hey I met him), Laila Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Johnson, David Beckham, Sunil Gavaskar, Zinedine Zidane, Jay Jay Okocha – the list is endless….But the greatest of them all – Nelson Mandela
SWOOSH: Ok I take it you Love Cricket..And you were there for the Cricket World Cup. Your comments on the following?
THE CARIBEAN –
AK: A lovely place to be…I was fortunate enough to visit 6 Islands out of the 10 that hosted cricket matches…Whatever you see on the postcards, it’s true, the water is really blue and the temperature of the ocean is awesome!!! Travel tip – if in Barbados make a point to go snorkelling and swiming with the turtles, it could be the highlilght of your trip…The one negative though, is it can be quite expensive – All the islands have realised the potential of tourism so most of the hotels and tours are charged in US Dollars as well as the fancy restaurants!!! If in Jamaica make a point of eating Jerk Fish and in Barbados Flying Fish…As for Guyana, Roti is king with anything there!!!

swoosh: THE ATMOSPHERE?
AK: At the start of the tournament with all the ICC’s stupid and unecessary regulations, one didn’t get a Caribbean feel to the tournament…It all changed though just before the Super 8’s and people were allowed in with their drums and their vuvuzelas made out of sea shells, it created a real party atmosphere…The party stand was the place to be as the local DJ spun the SOCA numbers everytime a six, a four or a wicket was taken!!! In all my travels, haven’t seen people dance and enjoy music like the caribbean people….
swoosh: BOB WOOLMERS DEATH
AK: He was murdered if you ask me…Too many people are trying to cover up hence the latest statement saying he died of natural causes…Match fixing is still very evident in my opinion and i won’t be surprised if there’s a link between the two…

swoosh: SOUTH AFRICAS PERFORMANCE ?

AK: Disgraceful and disappointing…we certainly have the players to go and win the tournament, but again in my opinion selection is an issue and the selection of players that shouldn’t necessarily be there is a problem…There are a few players who are in a comfort zone and who’s places seem guarenteed even when they underperform, so that needs to change.
swoosh: Dont you think we should ring major changes in the National Set UP…..
AK: Nah I don’t think so..we gotta stay consistent although there could be about three players brought into the set-up to gain experience etc…
swoosh: If you had to chose any cricketer to Bat or Bowl for your Life, Who would that Be…
AK: BAT – Mahela Jayawardene BOWL – Mohammed Asif
swoosh: Do you know Hashim Amla. What a chap. Lot of our toppies have touted him as being the next South African Captain. Your Views?
AK: Yeah i do know him, have done various interviews with him and always bumping into him when he’s training or at mosque etc… The toppies are right, he has the head and the leadership ability to take over the reigns of the Proteas. I also believe he’s a player that can play both forms of the game although the Proteas selectors seem to think of him as a test batsman only!!! As for his technique, leave it alone…Critics should stop harping on about that point…Look at Chanderpaul and Lara and they world class batsmen jumping to and fro across their crease…All he needs is a decent run in terms of opportunities. He’s already got a test century and a couple of half centuries – more than Jacquies Kallis achieved in early appearences in test cricket – so that already suggests that he can become a star batsmen for South Africa…
swoosh: From a Journaistic point of view. With 2010 coming. Does it excite you?Will we Pull it off? Just to be part of such an Event and its in our country. Im sure that is a Journalist dream. Are you aware of all the developments thats taking place and how are they shaping Up.Some Inside Info please. ?
AK: I think we’ll definitely be ready…Alot of 2007 and 2008 will be focussed on construction and laying the foundations for a great tournament, so the critcis and sceptics should just hold back…I’
ve been covering lots of stories on the 2010 LOC and they know what they doing. Everything is on track. One point I just have to make is that we can’t expect a Germany 2006 or Sydney 2000 Olympics in terms of their events…Transport systems are key and both those country’s transport systems are unbelievable…It’s going to be a unique event in this country and a unique world cup on the whole. All South African’s have to unite in ensuring we pull it off and show our international visitors what a lovely country this is…From a journalistic point of view, it’s exciting and I also feel it’s our responsibility to portray the event as positively as we can and insha-allah I’ll be around to cover a truly great sporting spectacle….
swoosh: Also I just wanted to know, Is there serious repercussuions if you misquote or overplay any incident while you reporting or investigating.And Altaf do you know Faisel Cook?
AK: As a journalist you have to double and triple check your facts and make sure your story is not biased when it goes on air..That’s your responsibility, I know of journo’s being fired for misinforming the publilc etc…You and your organisation can also be sued so there can be serious repercussions and it can be a fine line from reporting the facts and editorialising so you always have to be alert and aware…Fortunately I haven’t made enemies (I hope!!!) with anyone and I’ve also never been sued or called in by the bosses for irresponsible journalism on my side…
As for Faizel Cook, well he’s almost like my guru – (I have a few of them)…. I know him very well, met up with him for the first time in 2000 when I just got to Joburg…he showed me around alot and guided me through my initial stay in Joburg. Although he’s no longer working as a journalist, we stay in touch regularly as I always bounce ideas or reach out for some advice from him. We even had dinner together last week… A great guy and one that I have loads of admiration for….
SWOOSH: Thanks and All the best for the future. It was a pleasure having you and I just Have to say This for all my readers out There. THIS IS “NASEEM “SWOOSH” MAYET” on line from Swoosh0018 Johannesburg.
Thanks Joe Dindar for supplying te communications. Much Appreciated.
comments

3 COMMENTS

  1. Swoosh…U da man…Your blog rocks…Altaf didn`t mention anything about soccer and his support for Man Utd????I mean if I ever saw a passionate dude..Its this guy…..The ou was yelling and swearing @ the TV….

  2. So Mr Kazee. You support Man Utd. I forgot to mention that this blog is PRO ABUS’
    (ABU=ANYONE BUT UTD)

    SO COME WEEKLY SOCCER ROUND UP, WE expect to hear your views. Join the Man Utd MUGGS….They need suppport this next campaign.

    Would be good to hear your views in the soccer banter…

  3. Sports journalist = sport’s brain.
    That is why altaf supports Man U.
    Don’t worry Al, we make swoosh eat his words about his ABU theories.

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