THE Herald Sports Reporter, Tadious Manyepo, scooped the Sports Journalist of the Year gong at the National Journalism and Media Awards, hosted by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, in Harare yesterday.
It was Manyepo’s first attempt at the country’s most prestigious media awards.
He was also rewarded, for his sterling work, by the ZIFA Northern Region Soccer League earlier this year.
He walked away with a certificate and prize money from category sponsors FBC Bank.
The sponsors will present him with a custom-made trophy at a private function next week.
An elated Manyepo dedicated the award to The Herald editorial leadership, especially Editor Hatred Zenenga, and those in charge of the newspaper’s sports desk.
“This is my finest hour, that moment when you feel overwhelmed and hardly able to utter a word,’’ he said.
“When I look at myself, and my background, back in Gunda village in Wedza, I can easily shed tears.
“I would like to reserve a special mention for my mother Judith, who raised me single-handedly after the death of my father when I was still a six-month-old infant.
“I also want to thank my siblings and my family for always supporting me.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the Zimpapers management, in general, and The Herald Sports desk, in particular, which is led by Robson Sharuko.
“I would also like to salute Sports Editor Collin Matiza and my colleagues Eddie Chikamhi, Grace Chingoma, Ellina Mhlanga, and Takudzwa Chitsiga.
“These guys are my pillars, they are always encouraging me. They have been in the trenches for some time and I am privileged to be learning from them, especially from someone like Sharuko, who has always been my role model.”
Manyepo’s winning entry was a captivating piece in which he went out of his way in a period when the Covid-19 cases were peaking, and visited rural Mhondoro, tracing Ngezi Platinum Stars coach, Rodwell Dhlakama, to get his incredible tale from a village boy to a top gaffer.
He also travelled to Chipinge, where the man known in the football circles as “Sangoma” hails from, before visiting Dangamvura in Mutare, where he interviewed Dhlakama’s friends and former neighbours.