Nairobi — The sports fraternity in Kenya and beyond were on Saturday united in grief and admiration for Capital FM Sports presenter Sean Cardovillis who passed away in the morning.
Cardovillis, who has etched his name as one of the most experienced and widely-travelled sports personalities in the country, passed on at his home in Westlands, ahead of his regular Saturday Music and Sports show that he was to present in the afternoon.
A longstanding professional in the industry and a mainstay in motorsports, many of those who had honed their skills under his tutelage to a man whose voice was synonymous with sports.
NTV’s James Wokabi described Cardovillis as the ‘Godfather of sports radio’, crediting his longstanding career to the fallen hero.
“Sean opened the doors for me at Capital FM, put me on air for the first time. He inspired a whole generation of journalists with his passion, dedication and knowledge of sports. An icon. A legend. A role model. The Godfather of sports radio. Fare thee well Sean,” Wokabi said.
Elias Makori, lead editor – Sports and Integration Projects at Nation Media Group (NMG), waxed lyrical about the man described as the Voice of Sports.
“I have worked with Sean Cardovillis for over two decades and knew him as an astute, committed and honest sports journalist, and an exceptionally talented, peerless broadcaster. His contribution to Kenyan sports journalism was immense and the motorsport world, in particular, will miss his commitment to the sport, a commitment fellow sports journalists should strive to emulate,” Makori said.
These sentiments were echoed by his longtime friend and colleague, Mutwiri Mutuota, who admitted he has learnt a lot from Cardovillis.
“It is the foundations he laid in Capital FM Sport desk and its signature Saturday Music & Sports show that I had the privilege to try and follow from 2011 to 2016. Tuning to 98.4 this afternoon and not to hear “Hallo & welcome to…..” Go well legend, say hi to Robin Njogu , DJ CK, DJ Lithium, Ditto, Wambita & other members of the Capital family yonder. Love you always,” Mutuota said.
Another seasoned sports scribe, Fidel Maithya, spoke of how Cardovillis gave him his first start in the industry as a production intern, noting how their professional relationship blossomed into a friendship.
“Hearing this Sean Cardovillis news has just hit me hard. He was passionate about his job and just as passionate if not more about his sport of cycling. He opened the doors for me at Capital as a sports and production intern and we later became friends and colleagues. This news has left me reeling and it needs no reminding to treasure those around you,” Maithya said.
Legendary motorsports photojournalist, Anwar Sidi, was equally devastated by Cardovillis’ demise, eulogising him for his kindness and generosity throughout the years.
“Rest in peace my brother. You may be gone but your memory will live on forever. You touched the lives of so many people with your kindness and generosity,” Sidi said.
Similarly, Homeboyz Radio’s Eric Njiru described Cardovillis as an icon of the sport whose passing is a huge blow to the industry.
“Devastated to hear our friend Sean Cardovillis passed away this morning. He was a true icon of the sports industry in Kenya and the African continent,” Njiru said.
Capital FM’s sports editor — and his co-presenter for the Saturday Music and Sports show — Alex Isaboke was lost for words.
“Just landed in Doha and being welcomed by the sad news! Unbelievable,” Isaboke said.
The WRC Safari Rally Committee described Cardovillis as a motorsports maestro who has left an indelible mark in the sport.
“We ache the loss of our motorsport maestro. His lyrical commentary danced on the gravel, a melody of passion that now echoes in our hearts. As the checkered flag falls, his legacy lives on in every racing heartbeat,” the committee said.
Also eulogising the legendary scribe was President William Ruto with who he conducted an exclusive interview in June during the WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha.
“He was a cool, insightful and gifted journalist who played an integral role on our radio stations. We will miss his clear and concise voice, passion and upbeat personality. Our prayers are with his family and media fraternity at this painful time,” President Ruto said.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua eulogised Cardovillis for his indepth knowledge in matters sports.
“His wit and wide knowledge in various sports, especially Motorsport, will be greatly missed,” Gachagua said.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, with who Cardovillis conducted an interview two weeks ago, also joined the sports world in paying tribute.
“Shocking Terrible Loss to the world of sports. What a personality. What a voice for sports. On my own behalf and on behalf of the ministry of sports, I join family, friends and colleagues of Sean Cardovillis in mourning this gifted yet humble Capital FM sports commentator. Rest well brother,” Namwamba said.