This week, our columnist, Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo climaxes his celebration of Ghanaian personalities who have contributed immensely to the arts and entertainment industry and paved the way for the new generation of professionals.
This has been his contribution to the setting aside of the month of March as ‘Ghana Month’ to celebrate all things Ghanaian. His last but certainly not the least personality is the legendary sports presenter, Kwabena Yeboah.
He is arguably the most popular face and voice of Ghanaian sports journalism, having dedicated so many years to the craft and helping improve it with his expertise.
He stands tall as a sports presenter, writer and commentator in Ghana and for years, he’s enthralled sports lovers with his unique voice, in-depth knowledge of the profession and of course, his riveting albeit verbose style of commentary.
The multi-tasking abilities of Kwabena Yeboah have been exemplary and after so many years, he’s still active, accepting and executing more challenging roles and he is certainly worth celebrating.
Kwabena Yeboah is well known for his football commentaries
A Venerated Sports Presenter
In the last couple of years, Ghana Television (GTV) has fallen off the log as the favourite of many viewers but a particular programme has been able to sustain its following for the past two decades, thanks to Kwabena Yeboah.
Despite all the fierce competition, he has continued to make the show, Sports Highlights a mainstay on television.
Before him, other legendary television personalities like Edward Farkye and Tina Moses presided over the show, but none made it as popular as Kwabena Yeboah, who remains the longest-serving host of the show for a staggering 23 years.
Candidly, Kwabena took over a show that was dropping in ratings and one of his innovations was to inculcate 5-10 minutes highlights of international sports, a segment that became the favourite of many, especially at a time, when many sports enthusiasts had no means to follow happenings on the international space.
He also gave viewers the opportunity to follow the exploits of Ghanaian players who were plying their craft outside the country.
The foreign tit bits that he introduced in 1994, has been replicated by every other sports round up show.
Another attraction to the show is how articulate he is.
He makes it refreshing not only to watch, but also to listen to how expertly he uses the English Language.
A Revered Commentator
The slogans, ‘Oluwaa’ and ‘Wundebar’ have become part of the glossary of sports commentary in Ghana, thanks to Kwabena Yeboah, who made these phrases popular in his football commentaries.
His involvement with the electronic media came about by chance when he was enlisted among sports journalists covering the SCSA Zone III football tournament in Liberia in 1987.
A colleague from Radio Ghana invited him to try his hands at summary and brief commentary during the tournament and he proved his mettle.
His performance in Liberia was impressive, he had recommendations to run commentaries on his return to Ghana until he became a permanent fixture on air from 1989.
It was always different with Kwabena Yeboah in the commentary box for Ghana Premier League matches and for Black Stars games. Apart from his articulation, he also provided interesting facts and figures on players and teams, making him stand out among his peers.
His exploits in commentary in Ghana have not gone unnoticed as other international firms contract him for various projects, notable among the plethora of engagements was his commentary for the Africa Union of Broadcasters (AUB) at the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and Brazil respectively.
Interestingly, with Ghana’s disgraceful early exit from the tournament in Brazil, he became our sole representative in the Mundial and he represented the country and his brand very well, albeit, with some controversies over his inaccurate statistics on players and teams.
For years, he has been listed as one of the best sports commentators to come out of Africa, an achievement that is totally deserved.
A Prolific Writer
Born at Apam with beginnings from Apam Methodist Primary, Akosombo Experimental School, Nkawkaw Presbyterian School, Komenda Local Authority through to Winneba Secondary School and then the Ghana Institute of Journalism from 1982-84 – he established one of the leading sports newspapers in the country, Africa Sports.
Not only was his column the most-read in any sports paper at the time, but also the paper’s thorough coverage and reports on both local and international news made it one of the best and most patronised.
Africa Sports newspaper was that reference material for what sports journalism is all about; factual, verifiable, reliable and dependable - devoid of any form of character assassinations and unnecessary speculations.
His accomplishments as a renowned sports journalist got him the position of the President of the acclaimed Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) – a role he’s held sine 2015.
Since assuming office, he’s instilled some vibrancy and urgency in the affairs of the association, as he, via the group, has not shied away from chastising or praising football administrators, football teams and their handlers when necessary.
Built For Greatness
Local and international sports impressarios are not the only ones who recognise his class as a sport journalist; political heads do too. They appreciate his loyalty and zeal for excellence in any endeavour.
It therefore came as no surprise when the President of Ghana appointed him as a member of the Free Zones Board last year.
He is a legend and we pray God grants him long life, good health, success and more wisdom to impart to the future generations.