Jermaine Egesa: From a local deejay box to the Afcon broadcast booth

Egesa found his voice in the commentary booth. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Jermaine also enjoyed and made good use of the free-pass to interact with players during trainings and a library of data provided by Caf to aid the commentators develop a deep understanding of their subjects. 

Jermaine Egesa would be in some public or private office somewhere right now tackling social problems like poverty and climate change or examining key development issues. 

But, he is here catching a breather after returning from a hectic 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast last week.

Definitely, Jermaine Egesa was not one of the players representing Uganda Cranes because he neither plays for the team nor was the team there for him to support. He was neither there to officiate nor to escort his close pal, former co-commentator and Fifa referee William Oloya because Egesa is neither a referee nor his friend was called for duty.

Jermaine, as he is commonly known, was in Ivory Coast on an official call to commentate at the continent’s premium competition. Jermaine is among a handful of commentators who were headhunted to commentate the Afcon to close to 2b viewers around the globe. Jermaine is a French approximation for Benjamin.

Besides commentary, Jermaine is a show host on TV, an online editor and a deejay. Yes, a deejay! Basically, a jack of all trades, and a master at all. Maybe in future, he will do another rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Jack of All Trades”. He sums all of these in his Beats N Balls show on NBS Sport where music meets sports. A perfect point of convergence for Jermaine.

Jermaine started deejaying while undertaking an undergraduate degree in Development Studies at Kyambogo University in 2008. He has gone on to mix his name among the best in the country, endearing himself to the lovers of the 90-00's old-school music. But with the current trend, Jermaine seems to have discovered his truest career path.

“I couldn’t hold it when I was called for the Africa Cup of Nations,” Jermaine confessed to Score. "It was ecstatic and has opened the world to me."

This call blew his mind open.

“I think this [commentary] is what I love and want to focus on but I do deejaying once in a while because of time.

"To be honest,” he adds, “I have tried to leave deejaying but it just can’t leave me so, I will keep it but not very close like previously.”

The magic start

Jermaine started commentary in 2011. Then, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC)’s radio Magic 100 FM had an opening for sports commentators. The station was looking for suitors to do their English Premier League and European matches. 

Jermaine had never thought of that line of duty until that day.

“To be honest, there was no prior inspiration to this [calling],” Jermaine makes a hearty confession. “But,” he reveals, “there was an opportunity when Magic [100 FM] called on people who could come in and do commentary to apply.

“I used to listen to Magic and so thought it was something I could try out. I went and did a voice demo with the programs manager Patricia Muwasa and got the deal instantly.”

Jermaine’s first commentary was Uganda’s 1-0 loss to Egypt in the 2011 Nile Basin tournament. Relaying his broadcast from the match that was televised by UBC TV.

Jermaine put in a lot to master his trade.  

“Jermaine has worked hard for it but he was unlucky because he didn’t get this exposure early enough,” referee William Oloya, a close friend to and former commentator who started with Jermaine at Magic 100 tells Score. Oloya diverged into refereeing and has grown into a top Fifa-certified referee.

Oloya also noted Jermaine’s rich lexicon and ability to summon the right words to fit the occasion.

His journey, like most fairy tales, has been tortuous. It has been sustained by a prayer every other day and perseverance. By perseverance, it means that Jermaine was hardly making ends meet with the relative financial rewards from his work but he kept on striding. One thing for sure is that the job wasn’t rewarding as such at that time but it provided Jermaine with the magic wand that swung him into the limelight.

The prize. The 2023 Afcon trophy won by Ivory Coast. PHOTO/AFP 

By 2015, his voice had started picking up steam and was recognized even by the best there has been in Uganda. He was awarded the best commentator of the year in 2015 by the late celebrated sports commentator Andrew Patrick Luwandaga.

He went on to commentate several other high profile sporting events including the National Cross Country Championships held at Kololo in 2017, African Heavyweight Championship between Shafik Kiwanuka and Zimbabwean Thamsanga Dube in Kampala and the Armed Forces Appreciation Motocross Championship, both in 2019.

The Next call

Jermaine operated inside the Broadcast House on Plot 17-19 Nile Avenue for a decade until a friendly call came in 2021.

“I got a call from Desire [Mugumisa] sometime in 2021 to go and try out something new and local which he thought I was capable of,” Jermaine reveals his entrance into the local football commentary business.

Around that time, the league’s sponsor StarTimes and their local cable Sanyuka TV were shifting their business model towards English commentary.

“At that time, according to some research, there was [a] need to move from Luganda to English commentary and so, we went headhunting for talent,” Desire Mugumisa, the head of corporate affairs at Next Media Services explains.

“Of course, as expected, a couple of people whose names were being floated around were the mainstream guys who I thought might not be available consistently.

“I offered Jermaine’s name because I knew he had the potential, dependable  and someone very passionate about what he does,” Mugumisa adds.

President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara (C) holds the trophy while standing next to Ivory Coast's French coach Emerse Fae (L) and Ivory Coast's captain and forward Max-Alain Gradel during a presidential reception at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan. PHOTO/AFP 

Jermaine was contacted, tested and contracted for the Uganda Premier League games. He later on became the lead commentator alongside veteran sports journalist John Vianney Nsiimbe from the 2021/22 season. Together, the two have formed a telepathic combination and did about 89 games in his first season and has gone on to become the voice of the league.

"I don't think we've his equal [in Uganda] because he is a special talent who don't come quite often and I'm not saying this because I work with him," Nsiimbe says.

To the world

Jermaine’s rising voice was not only admired in Uganda. He received a continental call in 2022 inviting him to the Africa Nations Championship that was to be held early the following year in Algeria.

“I got a call from someone called Jose Santos and  [September] Luxolo asking me if it’s something I would've wanted to be part of and was very excited but,” Jermaine reveals his excitement with reservations, though, “I was a bit skeptical and thought someone just wanted to scam me.

“I did some due diligence by crosschecking on LinkedIn and found that he was legit! This was a big commendation on not just what I was doing but the entire fraternity that we have reached a level that we can earn these roles."

Jermaine’s call was not just by accident. It was meant to be. It is a deliberate effort by the current Caf leadership to nurture local talent and provide the platform.

“Caf wanted to bring in that local feeling to the commentary by using voices that are common and understand the players and game,” September Luxolo, the head of communications at Caf, says.

“It is something that Caf under Dr. Patrice Motsepe is focusing on and is already giving African talents a chance because they will not get these chances at Uefa competitions or elsewhere first.

Jermaine and Nsiimbe were the main voices commentating local leagues in the country.

“For example,” Luxolo adds, “Jermaine was given the chance at Chan and used it very well to express his abilities to attract the Afcon call. Those are the kind of opportunities this Caf wants to create.”

And indeed, his hard work paid off!

Chan initiation

The Chan job in Algeria didn’t provide a soft landing for Jermaine at first but nevertheless, he was armed to succeed.

“My arrival was a bit nervy especially when you’re used to the home system where you have a floor manager and director that you’re used to and are a lot more instructive,” Jermaine says of his first assignment to Chan.

“There everybody knows you’re there and believes you know what to do; there’s no instructions, no time to find your footing but just straight to business.”

Jermaine’s first game was on match day one on January 15, 2023 as Madagascar defeated Ghana 2-1 in Constantine. He was not privileged to commentate his own country as the Uganda Cranes were bundled out in the groups on January 22. However, Uganda’s early exit did not hamper Jermaine’s fairy story at Chan as he went a step forward to relay a quarterfinal clash between Madagascar and Mozambique. The former won 3-1 to reach the semis. His run ended when the schedules at Constantine ended and matches switched to Oran and Algiers cities but that was just the beginning of his journey in Africa. He was summoned again for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations that concluded last weekend in Ivory Coast. Uganda did not qualify for the finals.

Afcon bliss

Jermaine had now become accustomed to the system but Afcon was a larger meal.

A bus carrying the Ivory Coast football team leaves after a presidential reception at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan. PHOTO/AFP 

“I had some goose bumps at the beginning but look, I asked myself: this is what you have been doing and that’s why you are here so go do it,” he summoned up the courage. That was just the first hurdle!

“Personally I had a problem with some pronunciation,” Jermaine pauses a bit with a smile. “The way we pronounce names in East Africa is a bit different from the rest. For example, I would be very embarrassed if I did not learn from Malawi journalists how to pronounce their midfielder Prins Tjiueza (pronounced as ‘she~wea~tha) ‘s name.

Jermaine also enjoyed and made good use of the free-pass to interact with players during trainings and a library of data provided by Caf to aid the commentators develop a deep understanding of their subjects.

“That said,” he emphasizes, “your own preparation is key.”

Typical match day

Jermaine's typical match day at Afcon begins two days before.

“That’s when I do extensive research, say by typing in a player or coach’s name randomly and see what really pops up on the internet as I take as many notes as possible.

The prize. The 2023 Afcon trophy won by Ivory Coast. PHOTO/AFP 

Pre-match day? “That’s when you go for the last training or press conferences and meet up with journalists from other countries to learn more.

“While there, I try to get some more titbits about the players and record audios specifically on the pronunciation. From there I go and do some color-coding where I put different notes under particular names to be able to use during the game,” he concludes.

Sky's the limit

From deejaying at local clubs, to Uganda Premier League’s main voice, through Chan up to Africa’s primed tournament, Jermaine can only keep rising. A Born of Busia border district, the 37-year-old draws his inspiration from his cousin Dr. Kenneth Egesa and aunt Mary Adudu. Egesa worked as a director at the Bank of Uganda while the aunt was a sales and marketing director at Agip.

“So for us, scaling heights is expected and whatever you do, mediocrity is not an option but you have to live up to the billing,” he concludes.

Jermaine sings praises to his co-commentators and former and current workmates for holding his hand through the thick but above all holds a special place in his heart for John Vianney Nsiimbe.


Name - Benjamin ‘Jermaine’ Egesa Osipo

Date of birth – June 8, 1987

Parents - Christine Ouma & Andrew Osipo (RIP)

Home district - Busia

Education background - Bachelor's Degree in Development Studies.

Jobs – Magic 100 FM/UBC (2011-2020), Next Media (2021-date);

Commentating – Chan 2022, Afcon 2023 & Uganda Premier League (2021-date)

Role model - Duane Dell'Oca, Martin Tyler & Micheal Owor (Bush Baby) & after January Steve Vickers

Dream - the sky is the limit

Matches commented at Afcon 2023

All Group E matches

Tanzania 0-0 DR Congo

Mali 2-1 Burkina Faso (Round of 16)