Kenyan Arap Uria rises to stardom as lip-syncing soccer phenomenon

Uria amasses a huge following with funny commentary on TikTok

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Kenyan comedian and digital content guru Arap Uria has become a TikTok sensation.
Arap Uria Kenyan comedian and digital content guru Arap Uria has become a TikTok sensation.
Image: supplied

Lip-syncing historical football moments by famous English soccer commentator Peter Drury has gained Kenyan comedian and digital content guru Arap Uria a remarkable international footprint on TikTok.

Born Meshack Kiprop Biwott at Muskut village in Elgeyo-Marakwet county, Uria is among a host of African content creators who are a part of a TikTok lip-syncing campaign called Sounds of the World Cup.

The others in the group are Gift Manando, Manuel Boya, Thabang Khiba, Kwadwo Sheldon, Simon Ekpolo, Taiwo Mubaraq, Charles Kessie and Emmanuel Phiri.

The group are tasked with recording and sharing videos of themselves on the short-clip platform, adding their unique style and flair to some of the most memorable World Cup moments throughout the years.

Employed as a mathematics and geography high school teacher, Uria first carved his way on TikTok by creating videos of himself imitating the celebrated English football commentator.

In his lip-syncing skits, Uria often uses steel cups as his headphones and an old light bulb rod as his microphone with a sound bite of commentary from a recent match.

These short-clip videos have rapidly seen him rise to stardom as a lip-syncing soccer phenomenon across the world.

“I’ve always loved football since when I was still very young. I grew up listening and admiring commenters and it’s always fascinated me at how they make the sport so interesting and entertaining,” says Uria from western Kenya.  

“I started striking interest in content creation in 2019. It was only in 2020 that I ventured into lip-syncing what commentators said after a prominent soccer match has taken place.

“However, due to lack of employment during the pandemic, I then decided to delve deeper into content creation which has exposed me to a lot of people around the world.”

The 26-year-old, who has a bachelor’s degree in education from Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, amasses close to 720,000 followers on TikTok.

He hopes that his football commentary videos will encourage non-soccer fanatics to love and appreciate the art of soccer.       

“It has been a very challenging yet interesting journey as I have been learning a lot through this process. Being this known on social media came as a surprise for me because I never expected or thought in a million years that people would know my name like this,” says Uria.  

“I am often referred to by people in my country as the Kenyan Peter Drury which brings a smile to my face because it means I’m doing something right with my commentary videos.”  

Being a football influencer, Uria recently had the opportunity to work in one of the World Cup adverts with SuperSport, an experience he describes as “one of a kind”.  

“In Kenya, we have a lot of content creators who cover a lot of aspects across the board. I can safely say I am one of the few creators who cover sports on TikTok which has set me apart from the rest.

"With this campaign, Sounds of the World Cup, I will encourage fans to create euphoria around the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022. They can even create their own World Cup content by using some of the videos made by me.”

As a die-hard soccer fan, Uria hopes to make enough money to help him go back to varsity to study journalism. He hopes to become a sports journalist one day.

“I wish people liked football as much as I do, it’s such an entertaining sport like no other. With the World Cup under way, and even though I support Senegal, the country that I think will take the cup is definitely Brazil because of the amount of skill the players have.”

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