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How Akrobeto has used comedy to become an icon in the global football space

Akrobeto has now attained GOAT status in football circles and he has done so by leveraging his talent as a comic actor to thrill a worldwide audience…

How Akrobeto has used comedy to become a global icon in the football space

The Accra Sports Stadium has been graced by some prominent persons from all walks of life in recent years, but the ground must have witnessed one of its most organic cheers when it hosted the game between Borussia Dortmund Legends and African Legends last Saturday.

In a stadium full of superstars, including Emmanuel Adebayor, Jan Koller, Abedi Pele, Roman Weidenfeller and Mohamed Zidan, it goes without saying that Akrobeto’s introduction received the loudest cheer.

The comic actor has become an internet sensation since he started hosting the Real News on UTV. He presents parody news; a burlesque that has clearly grabbed the attention of several European clubs.

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In recent months, German clubs Dortmund and Augsburg have featured him on their Twitter pages, while Russian side Spartak Moscow used his video for their fixture announcement.

It may have started as just another comic show on TV, but Akrobeto and his Real News programme have gradually outgrown the Ghanaian audience, becoming a programme that attracts interest from global football fans.

The veteran actor himself has become a meme god, with his funny way of pronouncing the names of football teams and his waggish style of announcing match results usually circulated after every European match week. His content has also become troll materials, which netizens consistently turn to for their online banter.

Indeed, not many Ghanaian actors can claim to have enjoyed the success-laden career that Akwasi Boadi, popularly known as Akrobeto, has had in the last two and a half decades.

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He was there in the late 1990s, performing alongside Bob Okala and Nkomode in their prime in the popular Key Soap concert party. He was there in the 2000s when Kumawood took off; starring alongside Agya Koo, Paa George, Bob Santo and Judas.

In the 2010s, when a younger group of actors fledged into the limelight, Akrobeto was still there, making his mark in an industry where Kwadwo Nkansah Lil Win, Bill Asamoah, Samuel Ampofo and Kwaku Manu were the poster boys.

The irony, though, is that in all these eras, Akrobeto never took center stage. At no point in time was he the biggest or most sought-after actor in the local movie industry, but he still managed to shine through, maintaining his relevance and performing roles that made him un-droppable.

It is in the 2020s, however, that Akrobeto has finally taken his place as one of the greatest comic actors Ghana has ever produced. He may have left it late but there’s currently no actor more popular, no ‘sports presenter’ more endearing, and no anchor more recognised than the 59-year-old.

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He has become a content machine; one that European clubs regularly tap from to connect with their millennial fans on the internet. And for a man who started out as a singer in a band, it has taken a great deal of patience, consistency, hard work and perseverance for Akrobeto to come this far.

More importantly, he has reinvented himself to suit the changing times. When stage comedy was on the verge of extinction, he seamlessly transitioned into a Kumawood actor. And when Kumawood as an industry began dying, he morphed into a comic news presenter – a role which he has so far delivered beyond everyone’s expectation.

What started as a programme to bring smiles on the faces of Ghanaians during the COVID-19 pandemic has now become a show synonymous with European football and its host a global icon in the football space.

In June 2021, Akrobeto featured in a video announcing the Bundesliga schedule of German club Augsburg ahead of the 2021/22 league season. The club shared a funny clip of the Ghanaian actor hilariously trying to pronounce Eintracht Frankfurt, with the video garnering over 25,000 retweets and over 113,000 likes.

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Spartak Moscow also used a video of Akrobeto in their fixtures announcement for the Russian Premier League, while several parody and troll pages on Twitter have also tapped into his humour and satire.

If these weren’t big enough, Akrobeto went viral again in 2020 when he was interviewed by a Spanish TV station El Chiringuito, eventually presenting the news on the channel.

That same year, the actor’s funny video was shared by Chelsea captain Cesar Azpelicueta. From a small newsroom at Abeka Junction, Akrobeto has used comedy to capture a lot of eyeballs across the world and he now stands as a comic portrait in the football space.

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