Meet Suo: An amazon of Nigeria pidgin football commentary
Tracy Chapele-Ugo a.k.a “Suo The Queen Of Sports” is one of Africa’s finest female pidgin sports commentator (football/ basketball/athletics). At age 33, Suo believes she has only scratched the surface of the swiftly opening frontier that is pidgin sports journalism.
What drives you to get up in the morning and go every day?
Love for the grind basically. I know it’s a cliché response but I consider myself blessed to be in the small percentage of individuals in this our sphere who get to do what they love. I caught the fan engagement fever as a child perched on top my big brother Oghenero’s shoulder watching Rashidi Yekini slot in yet another goal and the mixed crowd in a street in Okere-Ugborikoko road go agog.
This was such an iconic, scintillating feeling, I chase it every chance I get.
To be gifted with a chance every day to be that person who creates that moment for millions of Nigerians all over spurs me to always want to upskill, upscale, find fresh, innovative ways to express and be at my best.
What motivates you the most about your profession as a sports journalist and pidgin commentator?
Walking a path where only a few, if not one has ever gone before using the different layers of coloration and mediums available to sell the narrative to one’s audience on a relatively new frontier. The very idea that any resourceful person with a strong resolve can be the next Aisha Falode, Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke, Tega Onojaife, Jovita Eke or Cecilia Omoregbe is most excitable indeed.
What were the challenges from where you started to where you are today?
Unlike most traditional career paths, there’s a pronounced scarcity in learning materials in sports commentary data especially in local sports so researching from scratch is always sacrosanct.
It’s also a painstakingly delicate, art of finessing to constantly discover innovative ways to nurture one’s private life as a family woman et al alongside a full career in sports journalism. Having a great support system at home and on the job has gone a long way in helping.
What are your distinguishing factors as a commentator and a person?
My ‘’super power’’ comes from an innate ability to embrace and draw constant inspiration from my roots- the rusticity of Aladja, streets smart wit of Warri, the unapologetic boldness of Benin, the erudite, poetry that stems from years studying the classics, the flamboyance from studies in Theatre etc blends together into a brilliant ball of infectious energy and vibes. I find my audience connect best when I don’t shy away from shared common experiences so it’s a win-win for me.
I try to enjoy life best I can and use it as a muse to enjoy my work even more – happy commentator, happier audience.
How do you project pidgin commentary in the future?
Despite a pandemic, lockdown stricken 2020, platforms such as Wazobia FM and LA LIGA TV set up to broadcast match day live games with in studio analysis in local languages. This reinforces a universal truth; we all love experiencing global stories in our local color. Pidgin commentary is here to stay, I am just looking forward to an explosion of digital oral literature where more of our local languages will be embraced in the coverage of sports and so much more.
Pidgin commentary and coloration has come a long way from Sydney 2000 Olympics where Emeka Enyadike became the first sports journalist to fly the pidgin flag on international digital broadcast. With well over 25million native speakers of pidgin creole, more platforms are becoming proactive in seeking a pidgin colorations to events, a report by MH Nguyen shows there’s been a marked 65% increase in audio/visual content in local coloration in the digital media space post COVID.
I believe pidgin sports commentary can tag on the coattails of this content explosion and spread into mainstream entertainment, documentaries, etc.
That someday soonest there will be a play by play pidgin commentator for events like a presidential election, a rocket launch, an inauguration etc. This can only happen when the foundation is solidified and sacrosanct and I am super excited to see how this journey ebbs and morphs in a time as dynamic as it is unpredictable such as this. Kpoko!
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