Zenande Funani: A Rising Star in Sports Broadcasting

Zenande Funani harboured dreams of one day playing for the Spar Proteas but when that didn’t look like a possibility she decided she was going to do the next best thing … Join the world of sports media! All Photos: Supplied

Zenande Funani has come a long way since harbouring dreams of representing South Africa on the netball court, and when that dream didn’t look like panning out, she decided to do the next best thing … Join the world of sports media!

This past week, the rising TV star and content creator was one of the hosts of SuperSport’s presenters for the live announcement of the new Spar Proteas coach. A full-circle moment for a young woman destined for greatness in this industry. 

Funani first began her journey in the media industry as a content creator, something she still does along with sports presenting. Funani who is nothing short of a sports enthusiast says, at the start of her career she had to take things into her own hands as she looked to make a start in the sports world. 

“I have always been someone who liked sport. Growing up I wanted to play for the Spar Proteas and when I went to University that wasn’t the case, so fortunately I got into sports management which I had studied. It helped me fall in love with sport even more and I decided that is the route that I wanted to take in the media side of things. Ever since then, I followed sports passionately. 

“I tried to get in the mix of sports presenters to find out how they got into the industry, I saw that the chances were small to get into sports presenting at that time because it’s just a male-dominated industry. There came a time when there was little happening for me and I decided to start sports blogging. 

“I used to go to Orlando (Stadium) on weekends where I started blogging as a way to expose myself to and also learn to present and get into the game. That’s how SuperSport discovered me.”

Sports Broadcasting’s Rising Star, Zenande Funani

At the age of 26, Funani might be seen as the ‘new kid on the block’ but she has gained immense experience and knows what it takes to be a success in this demanding industry. She has shared the three factors that she feels can aid those who are new to the business, like she once was.

“I would tell them to network, it’s important to build relationships with other professionals in the industry. Secondly, I’d say to be open to learning and growing, there’s always more to learn and the more you learn it will help you get better at the job. Lastly, is staying humble and being kind to everyone no matter their position. I see it a lot around me and also it’s a help/help situation, because if you treat people well, they will always want to help you.”

2023 was a bumper year for women’s sport and the same could be said for ladies who brought us the latest news. Funani was part of the #HereForHer campaign that saw female broadcasters, as well as the women behind the scenes being showcased at the forefront of sporting events. SuperSport had an all-female broadcast team for the Netball World Cup which Funani was part of. She says this campaign will always remain close to her heart. 

“It celebrated incredible women in the sports industry whether it was behind the scenes or in front of the camera, including the crew at the Netball World Cup. It just highlights the achievements and contributions. It encourages more women to get involved in sports broadcasting. I also love how it promoted inclusivity and diversity and showed us that there is a place for everyone in the industry.”

Another career milestone that Funani also holds dear is when she took to the red carpet at the #gsport18 Awards as she was among the distinguished names of the presenter squad. She says being part of such a prestigious event came at a time when she needed some motivation.

“It was truly amazing for me, it was such a great experience, the honour of celebrating my success on the red carpet. I felt really proud to share my journey with other women in sport and just getting the opportunity to chat with sports stars like Ayanda Dlamini, people who have put their mark on representing women in sport.”

“Working with such amazing sports presenters like Lonwabo Nkohla, really helped me lift my confidence and grow in the sports industry and working with people that understand that was fantastic,” she added.

International Women’s Day is being celebrated on Friday, 8 March,  and Funani believes that women must continue to be given opportunities and a platform in the sports media space. She added that gsport is leading the way in this regard. 

“We need to make sure women are represented in all aspects of sports broadcasting, behind the scenes, in front of the camera. I think we should also be intentional for women to share their voices and tell their stories. Just like what gsport does and all the aspects that gsport represents. Finally, I think to recognise and celebrate amazing women who are making an impact in the sports space.”

When asked about what her biggest career ambition is, Funani rather than focusing solely on her own success, is also hoping to inspire the next generation of media broadcasters and content creators who are coming into the business or might already be part of it. 

“It would be to use my platform to make a difference in other people’s lives. I want to inspire, motivate, and encourage other people to pursue their dreams and never give up on themselves. I also just want to continue growing as a sports broadcaster and content creator and learn as much as I can about this industry. A mentor also told me it’s important to pay it forward and help the next woman who wants to get into sport, so for me, that is my greatest ambition.”

Main Photo Caption: Zenande Funani harboured dreams of one day playing for the Spar Proteas but when that didn’t look like a possibility she decided she was going to do the next best thing … Join the world of sports media! All Photos: Supplied

Photo 2 Caption: The SuperSport presenter and content creator is on top of her game on our television screens, bringing us the latest from the football field and the world of sport.

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gsport Newsroom

gsport Newsroom

Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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