Coach Ted Dumitru understood our culture – NkewuThomas Kwenaite
By Andile Dladla and Mandla Dladla
Nkululeko Nkewu looks back with pride and joy at what he considers the greatest achievement ever in his young life.
The establishment of a content news channel as well as a weekly newspaper with his partner Jason Acar stands out as something he believes would be his legacy for as long as he lives.
The duo have established iDiski TV and iDiski Times which are not just their pride and joy but two mediums that are steadily encroaching into the lives of ardent sport followers.
“Financially it’s one of the greatest things we’ve ever created,” said Nkewu. “We are founders of these two media platforms that are today consumed by millions of people and it fills us with a lot of pride to have entered this difficult terrain and seeing out brainchild going from strength to strength.
Nkewu is an award winning journalist formerly with weekly newspaper Soccer Laduma. In 2017 he won two awards at the SAB Sports Media ceremony as the “Best newcomer” and “Best Digital Presenter” and repeated this remarkable feat again the next year 2018 this time winning the “Best digital Presenter” gong.
“iDiski TV is a visual alternative for football fans,” explains Nkewu. “We sit down and watch football matches with Joseph “Dukuduku” Makhanya, Benedict “Tso” Vilakazi, Junior Khanye and occasionally number one Kaizer Chiefs supporter Machaka.
“We analyse PSL games and as honestly as we possibly can, we break the matches down. Sometimes we are extremely excited by matches because they are exciting and sometimes they are boring and dull.
“Yet at times we need to be critical and for the most part especially when a particular match had been dull, we certainly do not pull any punches. We look at ourselves as people who strive to push South African football forward.
“It is a platform that has garnered over 20 million views over a short period of time.”
Nkewu is of the view that European football looks superior when viewed on similar platforms largely because they have better infrastructure. But this has not deterred the duo from forging ahead to give the public what it wants.
“Europe has developed far better than Africa and in terms of traveling, one could hop into a train and reach another country within two hours, which makes it easier for clubs to regularly play European Champions League matches.
“In Africa, you find that firstly due to the vastness of the continent, one could travel eight hours from one country to another. And in some instances, a team from central or Southern African first have to fly to Dubai or Europe to catch a connection back into North Africa that could take almost 16-hours!
“It is largely due to these type of challenges that the African Champions league and CAF Confederation Cup would always be entities or lack proper marketing due to challenges associated with traveling across the continent.”
For us as content creators “Social media” has provided us with a huge opportunity which allows fans multiple opportunities to see moments they might have missed in a game on television and are thus able to discuss and talk about it.
“Even individual sports clubs are now able to mobilise their fans on social media with Kaizer Chiefs being enjoying the biggest digital space as a club in South Africa.”
It has therefore made it easier for them to approach sponsors and presented to them actual numbers in their millions as core followers and if you advertise we can charge you a little bit more because now the support base has grown even more.
“The downside of these platforms is the level of negative energy that is spread daily. If you are a player and might have had a bad game then that player could find themselves in the centre of harsh comments throughout the day and they might find it difficult to deal with.
“I always tell young people who want to get into the journalism space to firstly understand their audience. Who is going to read your articles and who will watch this and why. For me it’s crucially important to understand my audience so I give them what they want.”
Nkewu is of the view that generally speaking coaches are never given enough time to express themselves, the reasons behind their plans and why a particular strategy worked or didn’t work and it’s very rare that you find coaches lasting long in their respective jobs because they have no platform.
A coach like the late Ted Dumitru came to South Africa and tried to understand the culture and mentality of local players and transformed a lot of them. He won four league titles with different teams and also produced a lot of coaches.
He adapted and did not force his knowledge on us and Nkewu believes these are some of the discussion topics that needs to be debated.