FIFA honours veteran Nigerian journalist Solaja


Veteran Nigerian sports journalist Kunle Solaja was honoured by world football body FIFA in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.

Alongside 81 other journalists of repute who have attended and reported at nearly a score of the quadrennial global football fiesta and other glamour tournaments, Solaja, a former Sports Editor of the defunct Concord Newspapers and the Guardian Newspapers, was awarded a certificate of achievement and a replica of the World Cup trophy, presented by Brazilian legend Ronaldo.

Solaja was one of only two Africans on the list, the other being South African Mark Gleeson.

The star of the ceremony was the 88-year-old Enrique Macaya Márquez, an Argentine freelancer, who is covering his 17th World Cup in Qatar, and whose tally is one more than Uruguayan Diego Lucero, who, before his death in 1995, had covered every World Cup between 1930 and 1994.

Solaja’s illustrious odyssey began in 1986 in Mexico, and he has since attended the World Cup finals in Italy in 1990, USA in 1994, France in 1998, Korea/Japan in 2002, Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010, Brazil in 2014 and Russia in 2018, before the ongoing finals in Qatar.

“We are proud to congratulate and celebrate one of our own, Mr. Kunle Solaja, for the honour bestowed on him by FIFA. To attend 10 FIFA World Cup finals is not a joke. Mr. Solaja is a man competent, diligent and passionate about his trade, and we join FIFA to celebrate him as an illustrious servant of the beautiful game,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said.