WB Exclusive Interview: From Modeling To Sports, Mozez Praiz Speaks On His Tough Upbringing, Career, Family And More!

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Handsome, classy and determined are just some few words to describe sports presenter Mozez Praiz. Having joined Supersport in 2007, he h…

Handsome, classy and determined are just some few words to describe sports presenter Mozez Praiz. Having joined Supersport in 2007, he has been able to climb the ladder of his career earning a good reputation in the process.

Mozez was born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria and is the first child of nine children. He is a graduate of the Ibadan Polytechnic, where he studied Mass Communication.

With a great sense of style, Mr Praiz presents the live broadcasts of the Nigeria Premier League, Naija made and also the Barclays Premier League from the SuperSport Nigeria Studios alongside Charles Anazodo and Chisom Mbonu but essentially he is the man who follows the action from the venues across Nigeria. But that is not all he is known for.

The 6ft 5in tall grey haired presenter also runs a show on radio, public speaker, master of ceremonies and is still actively modeling… Let’s just say he is the Renaissance man with a Naija flavor…

Mozez started modelling as far back as the 90s and has appeared in many advertisements.

In this exclusive interview, he talks about his humble background, family, hobbies, embarrassing moments and his plans for the future.

Sit back and enjoy then leave your thoughts as comments afterwards


Can You Share With Us Your Background? How Was Growing Up Like For You?

I come from a humble background. I’m the first of 9 children and growing up was pretty intense. I had lots of children around and you know for a fact that resources are kinda scarce to cater for everyone.

I needed to do some menial jobs even after I left secondary school like working at a cash car wash to selling of “chin chin” on the streets and even going to parties where we helped clear and wash plates.

I did all that just to get food anyways. I thank God cos it was a learning curve for me, more or less solidified me and made me well-grounded and appreciate whatever little I have. It also taught me how to handle my kids properly. I don’t regret any of it and wouldn’t mind coming back the same way.

How Did You Meet Your Wife?

I met my wife in church. We were in the same group and quite active and very strong in our faith. There was always that back and forth exchange of ideas, bible studies and stuff. I usually taught my wife everything she knows. I was like her first boyfriend. We then grew closer together before getting married in 2006 after 2 years of courting.

I’ve got 2 lovely kids Paula and Joy. I call them terrorist cos they terrorize me with love. They are part of the best things God has blessed me with in life.

What Does Your Wife Do For A Living?

She’s has been an insurance practitioner for about 7 years now.

Is She Also A Football Lover?

My wife is the reserved type, totally inward. Its so bad that she sleeps off during movies. So football is going too far. She has never sat with me to watch a football game.

It is a cross I have to carry but I’m thinking when she’s like 70 years and  she can’t move around a lot then she’ll probably be forced to watch a game with me *giggles*.  She’s not just the TV person, she prefers to read.

What Were You Into Before You Joined Supersport?

I was a model, actively modelling here and in South Africa. Almost 8 years spent on the job before I returned to join Supersport.

Has It Always Been Your Ambition?

Noooo! Let me how I started, it was weird. There’s this particular office I go visit somebody on the island. There used to be a dude who operated the elevator for the building. As I got in this particular day, he was like, “bros do you model?” And I’m like “No” and then he said “Haa! Bros if to say I get half of wetin u get eh, abeg go model ooo”. That was in the 90s and it was the first time someone actually told me something about modeling.

One other day, I met him again at a bus stop and he told me the same thing. Then there was someone in church who was a professional dancer and she told me  that I should really consider modeling. That was the 3rd time! And then I start thinking “maybe I should give it a chance?”

So I started speaking to people who had been involved in it. That was how I was introduced to someone who linked me up with Modella. I worked with them for 2 years and it was very fruitful. My modeling career had began it grew in leaps and bounds then I moved to South Africa where I did couple of stuffs as well. I returned to Nigeria to get my work permit only for me to get involved with one or two jobs here and never went back.

I still do some modelling though; I happen to be the new face of Mudi Africa and it has been really cool. Now things are different from when I started as a struggling model. Then I used to beg for opportunities but now because I already have a face as a presenter I literally call the shots!

How Did You Make The Switch To Supersport

It was very weird as well… I took part in a reality show Amstel Malta box office 1 and the head of the production crew liked me and told me we were gonna do some big stuffs together. That was in 2004. Nothing happened until 2006 and that was the year Supersport made its way to Nigeria. I became more or less like a pioneering member.

I didn’t come in as a presenter but as a production personnel and in 1 year I grew to become a floor manager and then a presenter. That was how the sports journalism journey started.

Your Name Is Spelt Mozez Praiz With A “Z” And It Always Gets My Attention, Whats The Reason Behind It?

Why is it that people will not give up on this name thing? *laughs* Let me put it out to you guys straight. My name is Mozez Praiz spelt with a Z. If I show you all my documents, they carry that name. That is my name…

Your Job Requires That You Travel Every Now And Then, How Does Your Wife And Kids Cope Having You Away All The Time?

We had a word last month, my wife and I and she said “no matter how much I try, I can never get used to you always travelling”.

I thought it was something she was gonna deal with. But here’s the interesting part; before we got married, I actually said to her, “I’m gonna be doing a lot of travelling, some of them you will go with me, most of them you won’t deal or no deal?” and she said “deal”.

Its tough for her I know and I feel sorry for her because its not easy so I try to stay in touch with them as much as possible. Even my kids also, I talk to them most of the time when I’m away. If I can I Skype I do so just to see their faces and know how they are faring. Its tough on them and on me as well but I think its part of the process we need to go through for now. It definitely not gonna be like this all the time. Its going to change.

Has There Been A Time Where Your Kids Insisted You Weren’t Leaving The House?

Naaaa… I think they have gotten used to it. My children are very obedient even though they are very open and expressive especially my first daughter. People say she is just like me (apparently, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree).

Of course there are days when she’ll be like “ahan! Is it every time you want to go that your office?” and I have to make her understand if I don’t go that office there will be no school fees or food on the table.

But I always try as much as possible to create time and stay home. If I’m not leaving early, I take them to school myself so we can have a bit of rapport. If I’m gonna be home all day which I try to do sometimes especially Wednesdays, I go pick them up myself and they are always very happy. Then at night I bath them and have a word with them.

What Has Been The Highest Point Of Your Career So Far?

Its gotta be working at the world cup. That definitely has to be it! C’mon every player’s dream is to play at the world cup. It was a good thing that the last one was hosted by Africa. I was there on the field with most of the big stars talking and linking it to the studios. So working at the world cup definitely has to be the highest point.

You Always Look Good At Every Point In Time, Can You Share With Us The Secret Behind It?

I’ve been someone who is very particular about what I put out. I’m careful not to look too extravagant and at the same time not to look haggard as well. I like to look simple and yet speak volumes.

I love T shirts, jeans and maybe loafers but I’ll rather do slippers. I love slippers and do have lots of them.

Modelling did not come to change how I dress but rather complimented it.

I know I have an outlook that is a bit loud and my job makes me loud as well so my dressing has got to be tempered so I don’t go overboard.

I like simple things. If you give me anything loud, I’m not gonna touch it. So even to my jewelries, I don’t want anything too flashy. Its gotta be moderate. I’m 6ft 5in so there’s no way you will miss me, even when amongst tall people my grey hair will call you. So I try to curb all those loudness by keeping it simple. But most importantly, I like to smell good.

Your Best Scent?

Its creed. It’s the best. I have a couple of creed collection, pretty expensive though but I tell you very awesome. I’ve been using them for years now I still haven’t seen any other scent that can beat it.

Your Show Naija Made On Supersport Is Gaining A Lot Of Recognition Cos Of Its Uniqueness, How Did You Come About The Concept And The Name?

I’ll be honest with you on this one, the name came from South Africa interestingly. The show had been on for a while and was only called “the highlight show”.

We then sat down to rack our brains as to what name to show one day and we came up with the name “Naija made” and it sold to us. We wanted something that was well rounded. Initially, we wanted to name it Felele (a Yoruba name for the ball we used to play back in the days) but we just stuck to Naija cos it was just perfect.

“Its uniqueness has a lot to do with my personality. I impose myself on the show cos I didn’t want to be the usual straight up presenting which is the norm. I wanted it to be something our people could relate with.

I wanted it to be something we could sometimes use our native languages and that’s why you see a lot of pidgin language being used during the show.”

To a very large extent, I’m very happy with the way the show has grown big. I’m delighted about that and it can only get bigger. I’m always looking for ways to bring innovations into the show. That’s why sometimes I wear a wig on the show, I’ve also used yellow and red cards as well and even go as far as bring a whip.

I’m sure there still a lot more coming up cos my brain is always working looking for ways to create that excitement for our viewers.

But beyond all that we try not make people lose the essence of the show. So we still try to inform and educate them with insightful analysis which you can’t get anywhere else. I’m much honored to have the likes of Colin Udoh and Ojeikere Aikhoje.

I also have to thank my producer Tola Badekale who does the proper packaging of the show. He is one of the brightest minds I know with the way he makes everyone look good. Not forgetting also the reporters and guys working behind the scene.

Do You Have A Soft Spot For Any Local Club?

Err if you say soft spot, I’ll say no. The whole 20 clubs are my clubs. I support all of them and want them to do well. Not just on the local scene but even on the continent as well. So I wouldn’t say I have a soft spot for one particular club cos all of them bring a different angle to the league.

What Are The Things You Love Doing?

I enjoy watching movies a lot. I haven’t been doing that of recent cos I’ve been busy but sometimes, whenever I’m home I hang out with my kids. We just have a good time.

I also like to relax cos truth is I move around a lot so I normally don’t have enough time to rest. So when I do, I grab it with both hands! Then I actually like talking to young people, impacting and training them.

A few days ago I was at Ebute-Meta on the Lagos mainland where I come from to speak to the youths there. Before then. I was at foursquare where I also spoke to their youths. In January, I’m heading to Ibadan Polytechnic to go talk to the guys there too.

It has always been a desire and something I’ve been doing before. Every time I finish talking I see a desire for them to want to achieve more. Some of them would even want to come under me to learn.

Even on my show at Smooth Fm, although I was the only one contracted, I decided to get a couple of young people to work with me and develop. They are doing pretty decently now.

Speaking Of Radio, How Did You Get Into It?

Radio has always been something I wanted to do. As far back as 1995, I always had the desire. I used to be a big fan of Ogun state broadcasting cooperation (OGBC). I loved one of their DJs back then called Kwame who is now a big guy with Nigezie. He was a superb.

I aspired to become a radio presenter and since I studied Mass Communication, I pursued it dearly but unfortunately for me, radio ran away from me. Everything I was doing was throwing me back to TV.

I only started radio stuff last year October which a lot of people don’t believe cos its like I’ve been around forever.

I’m very grateful to Smooth 95.1 Fm for giving me the opportunity to explore this aspect of my talent. It’s the best place to work; the organization and set up is second to none.

We’ve also been able to take Total Football to somewhere bigger than it used to be and also drive traffic to the radio station via the show. I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made, at least that will help the situation we have in radio presenting in Nigeria.

Nobody really follows the ethics of broadcasting anymore, we just have a bunch of utter nonsense on air nowadays.

Is There Any Ritual You Carry Out Before A Show?

We do have like a pre-production before every show. We sit down and have like an editorial and agree on what we are gonna talk about. So we gather stories and plan out our editorial.

For Tuesdays and Thursdays shows that starts at 6:30pm, pre-production usually begin by 5 and lasts for about 30 minutes. If anyone arrives a minute after 5, he/she would not go on air cos its all about discipline.

“I listen to radio shows on other stations where people walk in half way into the studio. Its absolutely ridiculous! It’s a sign of people who don’t have an idea of where they wanna go in life.

Then after the show as well we have a post-production where we talk about the way the show was handled and access our performance.”

What Has Been Your Most Embarrassing Moment On Air?
“If you are talking about TV, then it has happened a couple of times when you are not expecting it and they throw you on air. Most times you end up looking round like an idiot *Laughs*

I wouldn’t totally call it embarrassing cos its never caught me doing something irritating like picking my nose or stuffs like that. The first time it happened I was like “am I on air?” which was like a very stupid question Haahaha.”

But thank God I happen to be a very spontaneous person; so I know how to turn every situation around and make a light joke out of it. I don’t think I’ve ever had any on radio.

Exclusively For This Interview, Can We Know 2 Things Most People Don’t Know About You?

Hmmm… here’s one you will find every hard to believe, I’m a very shy person! It difficult for people to believe cos I’m in your face all the time which is my defense mechanism. So I’m jovial, boisterous and all but that’s the way I hide my shyness.

Secondly, I’m a deeply spiritual. I’m of the opinion that God is the reason why I am where I am today. If it means offending you to please God then so be it.

What Are Your Life Values?

Very simple! You are what you are by the choices you make in life. I value relationship a whole lot. I can lose money cos of it. I value sacrifice as well. I take very seriously people who have integrity. We think integrity is when you see $100million and return it. Capital NO!.

Integrity starts from “I’ll see you at 2pm” and you do so. The one mistake we make is that we fail to understand that as humans we are not perfect. So even if you cannot make it 2pm cos of circumstances beyond your control, you call the person and let him/she know.

“I don’t like excuses. I’m not saying you should be perfect but make an effort. We all need to get to that point where we always keep our word. That’s where integrity starts from.”

What Are The Chances Of Nigeria Succeeding At Next Year’s World Cup?

I think we have a big chance. As a matter of fact, we would be the architect of our own downfall this time. We have a very bright chance of making it to the semis. I believe that strongly and I just wish for the best. It can happen!

Can We Know Your Football All Time Eleven?

Wow! It will be difficult to select a team right now but I’ll try. Some of them though cos of sentiment. *Laughs*

Get a mentor in your field. Someone who you absolutely believe in. Who if he tells you to pee on yourself, you will without arguing. That’s the truth.
Message To Young Aspiring Sports Presenters?

When I found mine, I saw changes in my life. I’ve been with him now for over 15 years. Someone that can ask for your whole salary at the end of the month and you will be so submissive to hand it over to him cos you know he won’t do anything wicked to you.

Abraham in the bible was like that. If you go to the book of Hebrews, you’ll see the instance where God told him to sacrifice his son. Although he didn’t eventually do it cos told him to stop at the last minute, truth is he had already killed the boy in his heart.

Many youths nowadays are too in a hurry to get to the top. I didn’t’ wake up one morning and said I wanted to become a presenter and it happened. I’ve always been a sports person right from my secondary school days where I took part in all sporting activities and have records to back it up.

For you to find yourself, you need to lose yourself first. For you to get to America, you need to lose sight of Nigeria and the way we do things here cos its totally different over there. That’s how life is.

You need to lose yourself to find yourself. Go into something different, that’s how I came about so that’s my message.

It was a pleasure speaking to you sir. WB wishes you the very best in future.

You can follow him on twitter Follow @Mpraiz

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