It seems like it was just yesterday that the show Goal Diggerz started. An ambitious concept at the time, the show banked on the World Cup coming to SA.
Unlike other shows that look at sports people’s lives on the pitch, Goal Diggerz looks at soccer players’ lives when they are not in the game. We see how they spend their well- deserved money. We go into their lavish homes. We check out their cars and the restaurants they eat in.
But the World Cup has come and gone yet the show goes on with a second season coming up.
“When we first started we were living in the hype of 2010 and a lot of shows on TV were modelled around soccer at that time,” said Goal Diggerz presenter Lungile Radu.
He explained that the show focused on African players who had made their mark abroad, especially in Europe.
“The experience was awesome and very tiring at the same time. I was hitting a new country every second day. I was travelling so much I am on my second passport,” he said.
Interestingly, when the final episode was aired, it all looked well made and easily done, but Radu said it was a lot of fun and games.
“You must remember these guys are always busy so it meant waiting and trying to get us into their schedules to get an interview,” he explained.
He said in some cases they asked for three hours with a player, but certain players were reluctant. Still, that didn’t stop the crew from shooting beautiful episodes for the second season.
Once an interview had been secured, it was sometimes not about how magnificent the player’s life was. In some cases they talked about how hard their life was. One problem in particular was racism.
“I have to give it up to them for leaving their home countries to stay abroad in places where they are lonely and sometimes suffer racial attacks from the very people who are supposed to be supporters of the clubs they play for,” he said.
Last season, Radu’s favourite episode was when he spoke with Benny McCarthy.
“He was the funniest of them all. He was really cool and didn’t have an ego. He handled us very well and it was good to get to know him off the pitch,” said Radu.
On SK joining him on Gold Diggerz, Radu expressed excitement because the show will differ from its previous format.
“We both went to different countries and spoke to different players so we will have different episodes alternating from one week to the next,” Radu said.
SK also expressed excitement on being part of this great show.
“I could not believe it when I got the call because I always watch the show and I love soccer,” he said.
He added that he was happy to work with Radu because he grew up admiring him.
Coming from his car show Mzansi Ridez, SK found similarities with Goal Diggerz.
“In my previous show we dealt with expensive cars and on this show we see soccer stars showing off expensive cars, among other things, so I am in familiar territory,” he said.
The one thing he found interesting was that on TV the players appeared old, but in reality they’re young. He said it’s only when you start talking to them that you see they are still in their early twenties.
“They look larger than life when they’re in the game and being chased by paparazzi, but when they calm down and you get to know them you realise they are in our age group and only happen to be talented. They are so humble it is amazing,” said SK.
Because the hosts travel extensively across Europe we will see a lot of diverse content. Both hosts were not keen to divulge the names of who they spoke to for this season, asking viewers to watch instead.
• Goal Diggerz starts at 6.30pm on July 24 on Channel O.