By Ringnwi Joy
Ace journalist, Joe Chebonkeng Kalabubse has been decorated as an outstanding sports journalist by the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education. His decoration was during a ceremony at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex to commemorate the 2021 edition of the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace, an initiative of Sports Minister, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi.
The erstwhile anchor of Cameroonian state broadcaster, CRTV’s most watched Sunday debate programme, Press Hour, says he is overwhelmed to receive such accolades for his selfless, indefatigable, and resilient service to the nation through the promotion of sports.
“It’s a moment of joy for me because I left sports reporting about 16 years ago but I didn’t know I would receive such a recognition,” he told MMI.
The elated laureate, though on retirement, still remembers the early years of his career reporting sports.
“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,” he said.
“Those moments when we won the Olympic Games in Sydney, when we were in Japan for the World Cup, in Brazil for the Club World Cup and many other competitions are still very fresh in my mind,” the former student from the Advanced School of Mass Communication, ASMAC and Government High School Mbengwi says.
“In fact, we wrote the golden book of our sporting history. From 1990 up to 2003 when I left sports, that was when Cameroon won almost all of the competitions it was supposed to win on the international scene. I think its a moment of joy and I thank the organisers for this recognition,” he added.
The media icon was brought back from his retirement bench to run commentaries for matches of the recently held African Nations Championship organised in Cameroon 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.
Meanwhile, the award ceremony chaired by Sport minister, 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.