By Macwalter Njapteh in Yaounde
Veteran journalist, Joe Chebonkeng Kalabubse who recently retired from Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV has been distinguished with “The Outstanding Sport Journalist Award”. The prestigious prize was conferred on him by the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education.
The ace journalist received the recognition on Tuesday April 6. The award ceremony was part of an event organized to commemorate the 8th edition of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The event observed globally took place at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex in the presence of renowned personalities in the country.
The award ceremony chaired by Sports minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, also recognised the tremendous contributions to the development of sports in the country by persons such as Kalkaba Malboum, current president of the National Olympic and Sports Committee, Francis Ngannou, heavyweight champion in Mixed Martial Arts, Victorine Fomum, former Cameroon and Central African table tennis champion, amongst others.
Talking to The Guardian Post, the initiator of CRTV’s flagship TV programme, Press Hour, said the recognition is a demonstration of hardwork, patient and great contribution in the promotion of sports during the first fifteen years of his career. “It’s a moment of joy for me because I left sport about 16 years ago but I didn’t know I was still very close to sport,” the ace presenter and TV newscaster stated.
He recalled: “the days we travelled overnight and we ran commentaries from the four corners of the world and Cameroonians stayed up at 2am or 3am just to listen to us”.
“So those moments came back to my mind when we won the Olympic Games in Sydney, when we were in Japan for the World Cup, and in Brazil for the Club World Cup and many other competitions. In fact, we wrote the golden book of our sporting history. From 1990 up to 2003 when I left sport, that was when Cameroon won almost all of the competitions it was supposed to win on the international scene. I think it’s a moment of joy and I thank the organisers for this recognition,” he added.
Counselling the younger generation of pressmen and women, Uncle Joe as he’s fondly called, said “to be a star, you have to persevere, work hard and be resilient”.
He has also advised them to be: “committed in what you are assigned to do because often, most think that you get the compensation for input at the beginning of your career. No, it’s difficult to do that and very few people even succeed to do that. It’s over time that you build a career and your name. When you do that, people will never forget you and that’s part of what we are harvesting today”.
Following his mastery of the arts of football commentary, the media guru was brought back from his retirement bench to run commentaries for matches of the recently ended African Nations Championship organised in Cameroon. His savvy on football reporting was solicited by the African Football Confederations, CAF.
Along with the likes of veterans; Fon Echekiye, Magdeleine Soppi Kotto and Abel Mbengue, they ran commentaries to the amazement of the younger generation and sports loving public in general. After completing training at the Advanced School of Mass Communication in Yaounde, Joe Chebonkeng joined the state broadcaster in 1989.