Jeff Stelling holds back tears in tribute to Sky Sports colleague Chris Kamara

Jeff Stelling had to hold back his emotions as the Sky Sports host announced that Chris Kamara would be leaving the channel.

The Soccer Saturday host said that the pundit would be departing the show after 24 years, before a six-minute video of Kamara's highlights played.

Stelling, who looked watery-eyed during his speech, said: “He was always immaculately prepared. And within football, he was so well-regarded for his knowledge of the game. And I can say, from my point of view, it’s been a privilege to work with Kammy for so long. He’s been a key part of the Soccer Saturday success story.

"His warmth, his energy, his humour, his ability to miss red cards [smiles]. No one worked harder, and he still will work hard. You will see him on your TV screens, just not on our show. He’s a good man, one of the very best. A great friend. I know I will miss him enormously, and I know you will as well. Good luck, Kammy.”

It comes after the 64-year-old, who is also known affectionately as Kammy, revealed he is currently suffering from apraxia of speech.

The condition – AOS – is a neurological disorder that affects the brain when trying to design the succession of movements related to the pathways involved in producing speech.

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Kamara had bravely spoke about his condition last month on Good Morning Britain. He said: “If I explain my apraxia, we take for granted the fact when we think and coming through our speech it’s comfortable, it’s easy, it’s natural. My apraxia, when it’s bad stops those signals from that brain from going to that mouth. It slows it down, at times it slurs the words as well.

“People are looking thinking ‘is he all right? Is he drunk? What’s the matter with him? When I put out the message after Soccer Saturday, I never in a million years expected that response, but everyone has been so brilliant, so kind. People have got in touch who I haven’t spoken to in 30 or 40 years to wish me well.”

Indeed, Kamara announced his decision to leave the sports broadcaster, describing his time there as ‘the time of his season’: “My long career at Sky Sports has never felt like work. I’ve spent 24 terrific years at Sky, and leave with the best of memories.

“My time on Soccer AM, Goals on Sunday and, of course, on Soccer Saturday with Jeff has been – to coin a phrase – unbelievable. I’ve had the time of my life, and look forward to tuning in every Saturday as a fan.”

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