After Borrowing From The Greats, Simon Ekpolo Wants His Voice To Matter

Through his alter ego, Young Noble, a 32-year-old Deltan has brought joy and laughter to football fans across borders. Now he wants to be the next Jon Champion and needs people to listen.

Simon’s passion for football fuels his determination to make his voice heard.



As a kid growing up, Simon Ekpolo was like his peers. He looked like them and had the same hobbies, including a love for football.

Now in his early 30s, there is a glaring difference between Simon and his peers. When pursuing his passion or on the job, he looks nothing like them.

In fact, very few people look like him when he does what he loves to do which is what he does best.

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A post shared by Simon Ogheneruona Ekpolo (@youngnoblecommentary)

The difference has always been there, muted, waiting to be embraced and allowed to take the spotlight.

An understated love 

By the time he was less than 10, Simon and his friends fell in love with the round-leather game.

Growing up in his Aviara hometown of Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State in Nigeria’s oil-rich South-South region, he and his friend would seize every opportunity to watch a football match.

While most of his friends were wont to focus completely on the action on the pitch, his ears were primed for the match commentary. For him, the commentary was as intriguing as the game itself.

“I love football commentaries and football commentators,” he says of his passion.
As time passed, and with every opportunity he got at matches in his hometown, he would run a commentary of sorts.

This art form endeared him to many and they did what they could to support him.

And so, by the time he was in secondary school, still in his hometown, he had started serving as a commentator for football competitions.

“A lot of people saw what I could do then so during a football competition – let me say in 2007 – they provided a megaphone or public sound system,” he says with nostalgia. “That was what I used to commentate with.”

It would take another decade and a half after that year for Simon to become who he is today; one of the leading and beloved lip-sync football commentators, blending the oratory of the world’s most-watched sport with a touch of humour.

A Hiatus 

First, he had to conform to the normal expectations of life for him and his peers. Get further education and then a job.

“After entering the higher institution, I could not continue but I still had a love for football commentary,” he says.

As he faced his education, the huge impression his commentary work had on many years prior made it extra difficult for him to forget his passion. There was a continued dose of reminders.

“Most times, a lot of my friends refer to me as Jon Champion… even till today,” he says of the days when his dream was “on hold”.

Back To Form With A Twist

The nods from friends and early fans spurred Simon to cling to his passion. He was further spurred on by the growing acceptability of social media and the popularity of British commentator Peter Drury.

So, when “free from school”, he returned to commenting. He launched “Voiceover Young Noble”, a social media channel offering voiceover recaps of football matches played in Europe and Nigeria.

His excitement with the move was unmatched as were his expectations. Football fans didn’t pay significant attention to his commentary online. He had to do something.

“I then thought about lip-syncing commentators. I thought, if I had to use any of these football commentators’ voices to lip-sync, I would get some recognition,” he says.

But he didn’t act on the thought immediately.

“I kept the idea aside and continued with the voiceovers and match recaps,” Simon says wryly. “Then, in early 2021, I think that was February, I discovered that someone else was already doing it, a colleague of mine.”

He discussed the idea with a friend and the conversation provided enough motivation for him to put in some work just to “see how it goes”.

“I made the first video in March 2021 and since then, it has been non-stop,” he recalls.

It was in preparing for this video and role that Simon created an alter ego, transforming into a character that makes him look nothing like his peers when on the job.

To record the video, the slender young man, in his early 30s, draped a large tie loosely around his neck, transformed his beard and mustache completely grey, donned a taxi cap, and placed comically oversized mock headphones made out of foam over his ears.

He then grabs a hammer for a microphone and, just like that, he is transformed into Young Noble, a lip-syncing commentator.

The twist to his initial iteration paid off and his lip-sync football commentaries have endeared him to millions of fans in and around Nigeria.

His costume has also witnessed multiple tweaks with each retaining a comic theme.

Now, when millions gather around screens or in Europe’s most iconic stadiums to witness the thrills of the beautiful game, Simon is watching and taking notes, tracking time stamps.

He would then apply his whimsical approach of mimicking the world’s most revered football commentators to amplify the excitement of every goal, the tension of every penalty, and the drama of every game.

It is paying off for the Business Management graduate of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

With his recreation of iconic sound bites from the world’s top leagues and matches, the Benin City-based lip-sync artist has carved a niche for himself.

He now has a huge followership on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter – the platforms that connect him with his audience.

On TikTok, he has almost 598,000 followers, and 420,000 on Facebook and 40,000 on Instagram as of April 2024.

Dream Come True And More

Simon’s journey from a little boy with an ear and a love for football commentary to a successful lip-sync commentary star has been a dream come true and more.

As his content ramped up in views and praise, it also caught the attention of his biggest idols.

“This guy is clever. He is so clever. I have said it many times, if I had a chance to meet him, I would like for him to teach me how to do it,” Peter Drury, one of the world’s most respected commentators, said about him on an episode of the Gunners’ Community Podcast.

Drury is not alone.

Premier League commentator Jim Proudfoot shares his sentiments.

“He is good. I love him to bits. He is absolutely brilliant,” Proudfoot said in a short chat with Alex Goldberg in 2023.

Describing Simon’s videos as “the highlight of my weekend”, Jim hailed the Deltan for his response time, noting “the way he does it so quickly after the game and frequently”.

“The lip-sync is brilliant…he is hilarious. Is it self-indulgent that I watch it every time it comes up?”

Apart from the duo, other top commentators have reached him, praising his lip-syncs.

“They have accepted my work and always commend me, saying, ‘Keep it up. Continue doing what you are doing’,” he says. “They keep sending me messages. I love all of them.”

Ex-players and officials are equally impressed by what he is doing.

Receiving all the love with gratitude, Simon says every message of support matters to him.

“The top of them all was when I had the opportunity to speak with Peter Drury live on air and he commended me. He encouraged me,” he said. “That alone really pushed me.”

Peter is also his favourite commentator, even though that choice was a tough one for him.

“They are all good in their various ways,” Simon says, hesitating to name his idol. He, however, notes, “If I were to choose, with all respect to every other commentator, I would go with Peter Drury.”

The Fandom

The Delta-born social media sensation was one of the popular faces that graced TV sets during the AFCON earlier in the year.


Some of Simon’s fans describe him as phenomenal.

Udeme Ugochukwu Abel believes his work exudes a love for football and as a fan, he enjoys his work.

Abel stumbled upon his work online and has since become glued to his commentaries “because he is very good at that”.

What stands out for the fan is “the way he demonstrates and the microphone [he uses a hammer or a big spoon for that] is very funny”.

Another follower, Prosper Eghosa, found the lip-sync commentator randomly on Tiktok.

“I got to know him through Tiktok,” he said. “One day, I just opened my Tiktok account, it was Young Noble that came up and I said, ‘Who is this guy that is just mimicking Peter Drury, our famous commentator?

“I was very happy and so the next day, I said, ‘Let me look for him on Instagram and Facebook’.”

Like other fans, Prosper says Simon is “so good”, lauding his costumes and props as an added level of entertainment to the lip-sync commentaries.

He wants the Delta native to improve and “absolutely” believes Simon can go into football commentary, starting with Benin-based Bendel Insurance.

“If he has the opportunity to commentate on their matches, I would be delighted. Not only [doing commentaries] in Nigeria but also outside the country,” he said.

 Thorny Path To Stardom 

Young Noble faced challenges initially but his persistence is now paying off.


Despite the acclaim that has earned him his celebrity status, Simon’s journey has not exactly been rosy.

“If you take a look at the first commentary I did in March 2021 and what I am putting out now, you’ll see the huge difference between the two. It is very obvious,” he says.

“One thing that kept me going is passion, commitment, and hard work. I added all these things together and I practiced.”

With practice and “the aid of my devices, it is easier for me now to recreate those moments,” he says.

Copyright claims also rank top among his challenges. He notes that this began when his works started gaining attention and being shared far and widely.

“All my pages – Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – have all encountered copyright issues,” he recalled. “When I started, I started with the commentary and match footage. I used to show the matches because the audience wanted to watch them.”

But when his videos started going viral, “I discovered that I was now receiving copyright claims”.

He adds, “I lost my Instagram page, I had to get it back. I lost my Tiktok page, I had to get it back. I also lost my Facebook page”.

This didn’t deter him, though. He simply pivoted, restricting himself to audio tracks.

Still, he plans to extend his lip-sync commentaries to local games, applying his new approach to the games he hoped to commentate on before his education-induced hiatus.

“I’ll work towards it – how to bring our local league into my platform,” he states, even though he knows his followers don’t have as much regard for commentaries on local games.

Big Leagues, Big Dreams 

Simon still dreams of using his voice someday. For now, he has to give the fans what they want.

“I put a stop to it. Since the audience does not like hearing my voice; they just want to listen to that of Peter Drury and the rest of them, let me give them what they want,” he says.

In any case, giving the fans “what they want”, lip-syncing has opened doors for him. Beyond the fame and the fanbase, he has gotten endorsements and partnership opportunities from local and global brands.

“Over time, I have been able to get a couple of deals from top brands to local brands. I have been able to get deals with brands like Tiktok Official and others,” he says. “It is something that pays my bills. I am okay with it and doing well with it.”

Due to the comical nature of his lip-syncs, some have suggested Simon delve into other forms of content.

He does not rule out branching out into other genres like comedy but maintains that “football commentary is what almost everyone knows me for and to deviate is going to be hard”.

“I am never going to stop it. I think I am going to do it till when I am old. If there is any other thing coming up, maybe comedy, it can be just on the side,” he says.

As he commits to doing what he loves and giving the audience what they want, the young Nigerian has one big dream.

“I just hope someday I can make it out to the big leagues, possibly starting from our local league here, try to get the appropriate training, and be part of those big media houses to commentate on big games,” he said.

Until his voice matters as much as his act, he will carry on, “borrowing from the greats”.