Veteran South African journalist Mark Gleeson was recently honoured by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for his services to the game on the continent.
Gleeson is a world-renowned and recognised expert on African football and commentator, and a revered figure within the COSAFA region and beyond for his knowledge of the game.
Gleeson, 53, was awarded the prestigious CAF Gold Order of Merit at the recent Congress held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa earlier this month.
He was also previously awarded the CAF Award of Merit at the organisation’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2008, one of a number of awards through his illustrious three-decade career as a journalist.
Gleeson and his business partner Nick Said, do service as content providers and historical record keepers for all of the COSAFA football properties since the formation of COSAFA in 1997.
He became the ‘voice of COSAFA’ after commentating on all the early tournaments and has missed just a handful of games in the 20-year history of the competition.
“Probably the best game I commentated on down the years was Namibia’s 3-2 extra-time victory over South Africa in 1998,” Gleeson says. “Watching countries like Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland develop rapidly because of the extra competitive matches afforded to their national teams by the COSAFA Castle Cup has been a real highlight.”
Gleeson has attended and reported on every African Nations Cup finals since Senegal in 1992 and has also done extensive work with FIFA as a media officer at various tournaments, including the opening match of the 2002 World Cup finals in Seoul and press chief in Cologne, Germany for the 2006 finals.
He has acted as a correspondent for Reuters, World Soccer, BBC and several other outlets in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.