Last week, I travelled to the North-western African country of Mauritania for a special assignment.

I had been selected as one of few journalists from across the continent to have a rare interaction with FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The session was to take place on the side lines of a FIFA Summit, which was one of three taking place in three countries, Mauritania being one.

When the call came for me to join the team, I was excited for many reasons including the opportunity it offered me to further boost my profile. Interviewing the President of the World Football governing body is a big deal so tried as I could to gauge my emotions, I was over the moon. I was going to sit with the man who took office after Blatter’s rule!

As I made the trip to Mauritania from my Cardiff base in Wales, United Kingdom, I wondered what the line of questioning should be and just how I could make the interview worth everything at stake. Together with the other selected journalists, we came up with questions that ultimately did justice to what is now being praised.

The trip to Mauritania was enlightening as I saw at first hand, the deliberate precision with which the country was developing its game under the leadership of its FA President Ahmed Yahya. That the game in Mauritania is headed in the right direction, is a statement of fact. With a carefully structured developmental plan, Mauritania’s football, all levels, is set for a rise so high, one would attribute it to some massive performance enhancements.

There are lessons I took from my time with Infantino as well as what it meant to have that opportunity. These are five.

Major career highlight

Interviewing Infantino is a boost for my career. It is the most important high profile interview for me after the one I had with Liberian President George Weah during my time with Euronews’ sister channel Africanews, in April, 2016.

Bide your time

In the last few days, I have come to appreciate why it is important to bide your time in all things. The Infantino interview has been successfully crossed off my list of to-dos, and or story ideas and I am grateful.

Take risks

The call for the interview came while I was in school. As some of you may be aware, I am taking further studies in the United Kingdom and been juggling it with occasional career engagements. When the facilitator Aliou called me up, it took me less than 24 hours to confirm my availability. Moving all the way from Cardiff to Mauritania was going to be backbreaking but I took the chance knowing what could potentially come out of it. It was not an easy decision as it took a toll on me. Days after, it was school all over again as the assignments started coming in. LOL

Hard work is always rewarded

The Infantino interview like the many high profile ones I have done in the past, continue to inform my position on what hard work does to any dream. The goodwill messages that have come in, go to show why it is important for one to take their craft seriously. I can only be better. For the young minds coming up, it takes a lot of perseverance and hard work to get to the top spot. Trust the journey and process while charting your own path.

The dream is on

Interview sessions such as Infantino’s, are necessary for the bigger dream of attaining the highest spot in Sports Journalism. I can only be thankful for the opportunity and how it has contributed in getting me closer to the bigger dream. If you are on your way to achieving your dreams, it is always normal to get distracted but always have in mind that you are your own competition. Choose to be better, and happy, and focus on your dreams.

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