Obituary: African sports journalism legend,  Fekrou Kidane is dead

Obituary: African sports journalism legend,  Fekrou Kidane is dead
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Fekrou Kidane with Nelson Mandela

The world of sports journalism was shocked by the sudden death of the extraordinary Fekrou Kidane, an AIPS Honorary Member, on Monday night (October 10) at the age of 87. Fekrou, Ethiopia’s first sports journalist, first live football commentator (1957), founder of African Sport Journalists Union, author, teacher, pioneer and celebrated sports administrator had passed away at his place in Paris, France.

 Condolence messages have been pouring in from every corner since the news of his passing surfaced on social media. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Sport and Culture, Ethiopian Football Federation, Ethiopian Athletics Federation and Ethiopian Sport Journalists Association are some of the organisations that reacted to the sad news by celebrating his immense contribution for the development of sports in Ethiopia

Fekrou Kidane

International Sports Press Association (AIPS) President, Gianni Merlo, said, “I am very shocked by the news. I knew Fekrou for over 40 years and he was a man of culture and principle who always found balance in his thoughts. He helped a lot to grow journalism in Africa and beyond. He always attended our congresses and came up with ideas that shape our profession and for this he will be missed by all of us.”

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Sport Journalists Association announced that it has already set up a committee to work with relevant stakeholders to celebrate the life well lived by its founder, supporter and protector until the end.


Born in Addis Ababa in 1935 into a sports loving family, Kidane’s first introduction to sports was through his father’s love for St. George SA. His involvement never ceased to flourish since then.

He was the first Secretary General of the Ethiopian Cycling Federation, Ethiopian Olympic Committee, Ethiopia Tennis Federation, Shoa Football League and he was a Public Relations Officer of the Ethiopian Football Federation.


 He was the founder and the first president of the Ethiopian Sports Journalists Association in 1968. Kidane was also the Secretary General of the African Sports Journalists Union (1970-1974), member of FIFA Press Committee, director of the executive office of the president of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and The Department of International Cooperation.

He helped Ethiopia organise the 1968 and 1976 Africa Cup of Nations in Addis Ababa. He also served as a translator in Ethiopia’s UN mandated Peacekeeping Mission in Congo.


He worked for French newspapers France Football and L’Équipe. He also had his own publication named Continental Sport, an English – French monthly magazine.

He served as an Editor-in-chief of Olympic Review, a publication of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He worked as a correspondent for the BBC.


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