What you need to know:
- For now, the 25 minutes with him and the brief, hearty chat the duo had keeps Uria awake and in pursuit of his dreams other dreams the meeting birthed.
- These are all he carries with him until their next meeting “God-willingly”.
- “If you believe in a course, pursue it no matter what it takes. It will yield, just don’t mind the detractors,” he told Nation Sport.
When Meshack Kiptoo Biwott alias Arap Uria left for Qatar to watch the 2022 Fifa World Cup game between Ghana and Uruguay, he also hoped to meet Peter Drury –one of the world’s top English football commentators.
This is a man he has always considered as his icon. His wish came true as the duo met.
Uria broke the news on his social media pages. “Gooooal! Finally with Peter Drury,” he tweeted.
It is Drury’s joke of not being a good photographer, but a good commentator that captioned the second set of photos Uria shared online.
While the meeting rests Uria’s long term desire to meet the man he has always mimicked in his skits, it also serves to stoke another passion he always had of being a journalist.
Even before they met, Drury was the man he identified with as his role model. He now knows him as his talisman as well.
Since 2018 when Uria ventured into lip-syncing, he settled on using Drury’s voice because of his poetic prowess and partly because most football fanatics relate with his punchy and witty poetry.
“My meeting with Drury reminded me of my childhood dream of being a journalist. I hope that someday we will be commentating together with Drury,” Uria narrated.
If Uria has ever been star-struck, then it was during the meeting with Drury. It all felt like a dream, he said. But it is the words of Drury when he invited him for a chat over coffee that were heavenly, it didn’t matter that they were meeting for the first time.
“He appreciated my art. Go on, mate. Keep going, he told me,” he narrated.
“Because he is a trusted brand, I hope to ride on his fame.”
He has an affable personality, he said of Drury.
“I was humbled that out of his busy schedule, he created time,” Uria said, adding that on that day, Drury was to commentate another game later in the day. And he was prepping for it.
Uria was meant to be in the gulf nation for only three days. He was on the brink of returning without accomplishing this dream when he resorted to writing it and sharing with Jim Beglin – a football commentator he knew would reach Drury easily.
It began with a photo of him holding a placard written “Hello Peter Drury, it’s Arap Uria. I am in Qatar and I would like to meet you” and posted on Twitter.
It ended in the long-wanted meeting. It was moments before he walked into the Al Janoub Stadium to watch the Ghana v Uruguay fixture.
Then chose to drown himself in the frenzy that was watching the game with other fans drawn from all over the world.
He knew too well Mr Drury does not have a social media presence. But he somehow, somewhat believed that his handlers would see it. He knew his fate lay with him.
Around 1am, he recalls, Drury’s email came confirming the meeting.
For the trip to Doha, he had in his travel pack, a sieve, a coil, four mugs, a powder–props he uses to imitate microphones and earphones that commentators use for live broadcasts –and his acting attires.
During his meeting with Drury, he asked Uria to don them, the same way he always worn them when imitating him.
Drury then put on a pair of the mugs as headphones. And they took photos together. The photos Uria later shared on social media.
While this was a mere placard, with writings on it, he wrote his deepest desire and wished heavens would honour it. Some criticised him for that, others praised him for his brave action and dogged determination in pursuit of his dream.
South African pay television channel SuperSport, earlier this year hosted him in a Premier League Live show when they were both on the same call Mr Drury, albeit virtually.
His first-ever flight to Qatar was just a first of the many flights to him.
Qatar was “a nice place. I particularly loved the infrastructure, the buildings and the roads,” he said.
Drury will visit Kenya when his busy schedule allows him, he told Uria. If he visits, Uria hopes to hand him the goat he has always promised him.
For now, the 25 minutes with him and the brief, hearty chat the duo had keeps Uria awake and in pursuit of his dreams other dreams the meeting birthed.
These are all he carries with him until their next meeting “God-willingly”.
“If you believe in a course, pursue it no matter what it takes. It will yield, just don’t mind the detractors,” he told Nation Sport