Watch Now: Ex-Footballer Emmanuel Babayaro and Mathew Edafe partner with digital sports studio ATHLST to produce a new sports podcast series, Special Delivery

Ex-Nigerian International and Olympic gold medalist (with Nigeria’s Atlanta ‘96 football) Emmanuel Babayaro and renowned sports journalist Edafe Eseoghene have teamed up with ATHLST for an all-new sports podcast, Special Delivery. The show features cultural icons, ex- and current athletes across football, basketball, athletics, and combat sports. And it explores topics ranging from iconic moments, untold stories, life lessons, politics and business of sports, fandom, and the evolution of the game in Africa.

 

Watch the debut episode:

 

 

In this debut season of Special Delivery, the duo has selected the guests from a rich pool of past and present football greats. One of the biggest reasons for the show is to take fans behind the scenes and into the lives of some of Africa’s greats – no filter. 

 

We had an opportunity to catch up with Emmanuel Babayaro for a friendly chat about the podcast, and here’s what he had to say.

 

Watch Now: Ex-Footballer Emmanuel Babayaro and Mathew Edafe partner with digital sports studio ATHLST to produce a new sports podcast series, Special Delivery
 

 

 

1. Sports podcasting is a growing phenomenon in Africa. How would Special Delivery stand out from other podcasts?

 

 

Babayaro: We are bringing you African sports stories from the perspective of the people who created that history. You don’t find that every day. And I like to think that that’s what makes us special. Athletes are more than the sum total of the highlights of their games. They are people too. They are sons, daughters, friends, businessmen and businesswomen, entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, and visionaries. To access all those various parts of their person, we need to create a safe space for them to be vulnerable and say what they feel. And that’s what we’ve done with this podcast. The rest of the magic lies in the choice of hosts. You’ve got me, an ex-footballer and a friend to many of these guys. Then we’ve got Matthew Edafe, a sports connoisseur and one of the best journalists in Africa, as far as football is concerned. 

 

 

2. Speaking of Matthew Edafe, your co-host, what’s it like working alongside him?

 

 

Babayaro: It is divine. Working with him on the podcast reminds me of the movie “Twins.” – the one that stars Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Danny Devito. Edafe is the brain while I am the muscle – The Godfather. I get the guests to calm down and feel good while he hits them with well-researched questions to get them talking. Edafe knows football like the back of his hand. I am sure he even knows more about my life as a footballer than I do myself. That is how amazing and good he is. I am proud to say there can’t possibly be a better pair to host this. We are the dream team, which is one of the many reasons why it’s such a good project.

 

 

 

 

3. Speak a bit on the motivation behind the podcast. How did the idea of the podcast come to be?

 

 

 

 

Babayaro: Much of our past and current affairs in sports lie with the athletes. A five-minute news bulletin does not cover it, nor do interviews with a journalist who might have a different agenda. So we wanted to change that, and Lanre Aina and the amazing team from ATHLST were on hand to make it happen. We wanted to document the stories of how African sports got here and where we are now. We want the fans to know the life and struggles that come with being a star athlete. A few minutes into any podcast, you will realise how much about the lives and history of these athletes you didn’t know – even for avid sports fans. Then you start to appreciate how much work goes into sports and a sports career. Also, we think it will be cool to see your favourite sportsmen and sportswomen in their element – serious, vulnerable, emotional, goofy, the whole vibe. We figured the fans deserve that much, and the athletes too. 

 

 

 

4. What can the fans expect from the first season of the podcast?

 

 

 

Babayaro: Oliseh’s interview is a peek at what will happen over the course of the season. On Special Delivery, the fans should be prepared to see the biggest sports stars in Africa tell stories they’ve never ever heard. Like I hinted earlier, there’s the entertainment side of this as well. African athletes are goofy and smart, and our goal is to serve all that on the podcast.

 

 

5. Is there any guest or sports legend—local or international—that you look forward to interviewing?

 

Babayaro: Every guest we interview is a legend in their own right. When we started, I was eager to meet some people because of what I thought they’d bring to the show. But now, after filming some episodes, I can tell you that everyone we’ve penned down for an interview deserves to be heard and has contributed immensely to the sports scene on the continent.

 

 

 

7. The first episode is out, and the reviews have been great. How does that feel and how will that affect the podcast moving forward?

 

 

 

Babayaro: I’ve been following fan reactions over the past few weeks, and trust me, I’ve been wowed. We’ve had such a good reception, and that forces you to want to do better. Prior to the release, I went with the flow, but after seeing the views and opinions of the fans, I’m committed to ensuring that the fans are happy. They sure made me happy with the way they received the show.

 

 

 

8. Are there aspects of your career and personal life that you will address on the podcast?

 

 

 

Babayaro: Yes, I’d like to keep talking about the importance of discipline with the young ones. I wish I could have been a bit more disciplined as an athlete. A lack of discipline could be costly for an athlete. I loved women a bit too much. That was the difference between me and my brother, Celestine. He is disciplined, and I, not so much. While I was in the United Kingdom, I recall coming back to Nigeria every other weekend just because I was missing my girlfriend. That attitude made me lose opportunities. I have stories like that in abundance, and I’ll be bringing them to the show with the hope that it helps young athletes out there.

 

 

9. How would you describe success in this project?

 

 

Babayaro: I would define Special Delivery’s success through the eyes of the fans. Are they getting the expected value that was intended when they signed up for the show? Does the show bring back fun memories? Does it inspire them to be better? Does it make them proud to be Nigerian or African? Does it deepen the connection they have with their heroes and sports icons? If the answer is yes, then we’re on the right track.

 

 

10. It was nice talking to you, Mr Babayaro. Thank you.

 

 

Babayaro: Thank you too. Thanks for having me. And I hope you’ve subscribed to the podcast on the ATHLST YouTube channel.

 

 

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Now you can listen to the audio version of Special Delivery’s first episode on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/554uW4o2a2tW9fuC5GXkDJ