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Proud to be one of Fabio’s boys



Ade Somefun


Fabio was indeed a media legend! Editing his weekly column, “The GrandMaster”, way back in the Nigerian Tribune, was like going to a sports class or was it a course?

l always looked forward to going through his articles, he was a man of details… and was always prompt in sending in his column which was typed.

I remembered vividly when l suggested his name to the Tribune editorial as one of those who could add value to the newspaper and shoot up our circulation, he was immediately accepted by everybody.

That was to tell you that he was held in high esteem. Now, handed with the opportunity of sounding him out which l did with ease, as he graciously accepted.

He was to write that column for years and gave the Tribune  newspaper the leverage it deserved, a newspaper of repute, as people looked forward to reading his weekly column.    


If you hadn’t read The Grand master, then your Day was yet to be made! One thing of note was that l later found out about Fabio was that he never took anybody for granted.

If he was to be late in sending his typed column he would call to inform me that he would be a bit late in sending as he was correcting the typed script.  He was a man of perfection.

Professionally, over the years, l learnt a lot from him and he took interest in me, guided me in the right path as l edited the Tribune Sports pages…and Sports newspaper, the Sporting Tribune.

However, the last time l spoke with him on phone was sometime last year after l had a chat with Tayo Balogun, another former NTA guru, who had intimated me of his sickness due to aging…

On the day l put a call through, it was his wife that picked the call, asking who l was, l identified myself and l could hear her telling Fabio.


I heard Fabio say: is that Ade,? give me the phone, l want to speak with him:  yes his voice wasn’t all that clear but he was able to say a few words, asking after my health and telling me to call more often…

l cherished  those few minutes because Tayo Balogun had told me it was unlikely he would speak with me as his phone was always with his wife….

The rest is now history… l am proud to say l am one of his “boys.” May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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