Epic Journey Begins
Alan Nambiar is a well-known Fujairah identity. Sport, mathematics, music and photography are his passions. People usually know him as the camera-carrying photographer at most main events in Fujairah and around the UAE.
Alan has covered a range of community events including the annual swimming competitions and the traditional Emirati boat races. He has also covered International Sporting events both in the UAE and abroad. His Photographic journey reads as follows: FIFA Confederations Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, IRB Rugby World Cup, IRB Dubai Rugby Sevens, and Emirates Dubai Soccer Sevens.
Finally the foundation has been set for him to enter the grandest stage of all, FIFA World Cup 2010, in South Africa. His epic photographic journey soon begins.
Fujairah in Focus caught up with him in the midst of his preparations for going on the assignment of his life.
FIF: When do you leave for South Africa?
AN: My journey home starts on the 9th of June.
FIF: In what capacity are you going?
AN: I have been accredited by FIFA as an International Freelance Photojournalist. I have contacted newspapers, magazines and photo agencies so that they know I will be where the action is. I will be contacted on a day to day basis with live requests for specific photos and news as it unfolds.
FIF: Why did they go for a UAE-based photographer?
AN: My selection wasn’t about being UAE-based but fulfilling the credentials established by FIFA. It was a rigorous process and having covered many international sporting events stood me in good stead.
FIF: How many photographers will cover the World Cup?
AN: There will be hundreds around the stadium. Although I am accredited this does not guarantee entry into each match. One applies for a media ticket to get into the game and I have these for the first round games. After each round we all have to apply online for the next stage. I must apply for the final and if I honor all my commitments with FIFA and get to every match I will increase my chances of getting to cover the last game.
FIF: Where do you hope to sit at each stadium?
AN: People want newsworthy pictures so where one sits is very important. I have some ideas in mind as to which positions might get me closest to the action. Each ground has a ‘sweet spot’ I hope to scurry for post pre match! Once you are assigned a seat you cannot move around the stadium and go wherever you like. Placement is on a first come, first served basis so one has to get to the ground early and work until the match begins. If two countries are playing, the photographers from either one or the other country get the first pick of the seats and then the others choose from what is left on the pitch or tribune. The traffic is chronic so I will have to begin each day early and the accreditation process commences at the ground three hours before each match.
FIF: Which games will you be covering?
AN: I applied to shoot at 4 stadiums—Soccer City (in the Soweto area of Johannesburg), Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria , Ellis Park Stadium (Coca-Cola Park) in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province and Moses Madiba Stadium, Durban in my hometown. I am following the teams which are playing there and these include South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, USA, Germany, France, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana.
FIF: Are you happy about the games you are going to see in the first round?
AN: I am thrilled because there is a great possibility that the winners and runners up will come from these teams.
FIF: How do you feel about going back to South Africa in this official capacity?
AN: My dream was always to attend the football World Cup in South Africa. I never saw myself shooting it so this is a bonus to be sharing in these significant milestones of my country and my life as a photographer. This is a great personal achievement in pursuing my photographic goals and giving back to my own country. It doesn’t get much better than this. It’s all rather euphoric. I am very emotional about having the chance to shoot the World Cup in South Africa.
FIF: What cameras will you be using?
AN: At the moment I will be taking a Canon EOS-1D Mark III which is a sports camera with a long lens. I will also be taking a Canon EOS 5D which I will use for taking crowd shots in the stadium.
FIF: Do you have any other photographic projects up your sleeve while you are in South Africa?
AN: Besides covering the matches I want to cover the story of Africa. I want to look at Africa’s march onto the centre stage of World football. I want to explore the impact of this epic event on South Africa and its African counterparts. Exploring the angle of the FIFA World Cup 2010 effect on South Africa’s nation building and cross cultural development is going to be an important focus for me. I will be pursuing many themes and concepts related to South Africa and will attempt to produce picture essays and stories celebrating South Africa’s successes in becoming a powerhouse in global sport, economy and other avenues. The last story I would like to tell is the one from the people of South Africa and the soccer fans of South Africa. This should say it all.
I am planning to document my entire World Cup sojourn as a photography essay—looking at views of South Africans, views of fans from all over the world and views of Africa coming onto the global stage. These are likely to be from, before the matches, during and after the matches. I want to get interviews from people who attend the matches and are on the streets. I want Africans telling their African stories and specifically South Africans telling their South African stories.
I have applied for accreditation at the ‘Fan Fest’ which are huge centres for those who are not at the match but who can watch the game on big screens and do this in a social and joyous way. The Fan Fest in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town will be abuzz.
FIF: Who do you hope will win the World Cup?
AN: Being a South African I will be rooting all the way for my own country. I would like South Africa to do well but I’m a realist! South Africa still has a long way to go in international football. I hope that the South African team rises to the occasion and puts on a wonderful spectacle on home soil. I will be rooting for all the African teams at the World Cup.
FIF: What is the perfect final in terms of the two teams playing in the last match?
AN: My dream is to see Brazil and Spain in the final. My next choice would be Brazil versus Argentina.
Follow the Fujairah Photographer
Stay in touch with Alan Nambiar as he posts pictures and stories most days on this web site, Alan Nambiar’s Photography Blog.
More Pictures of Alan Nambiar with some football superstars can be found at Fujairah in Focus via this link.
Some of Alan Nambiar’s Sporting Photo Galleries
Beach Soccer Portfolio
Connect with Geoff Pound on Facebook, Twitter or at geoffpound(at)gmail.com
Image: Ismail Matar, the Emirati professional footballer with Alan Nambiar.