May 7, 2008, 6:57 AM
Two-time African footballer of the year El-hadji Diouf of Senegal is one of the few prominent football icons that have confirmed their participation in the much-talked about sports journalists award event due to take place at the Jerma Beach Hotel on 2 July 2011.
The former Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool star man became the latest international sports personality to authenticate his attendance to the next week’s award ceremony organised by the Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia (SJAG).
He is expected to arrive at the Banjul International Airport this week ahead of the big event.
The former Senegalese international, who has switched from the English Premiership side Blackburn Rovers to Rangers in Scotland, has joined his compatriot Henry Camara in expressing their interests to be among the guests of honour to grace the third edition of the sports journalists award event.
The presence of the duo will add huge value to the event of awarding Gambia’s best in sport for 2010.
“It will also raise the profile of Gambian sport as well as market the country’s culture to visitors,” officials of the SJAG say.
Diouf is a renowned Senegalese superstar who has made significant impact during his spell with the Teranga Lions of Senegal helping the West African giants to reach the quarterfinals of the 2002 Fifa World Cup, the only African team to reach that far after Cameroon and Ghana in 1990 and 2010.
Diouf has had a successful career as a professional footballer with some of the big-name clubs in the English Premier League like Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool.
It was on the domestic front that he made the biggest impact, helping Senegal to reach its first ever Fifa World Cup finals in style in 2002 in Korea/Japan.
The Teranga Lions caused a huge upset by defeating world and European champions France 1–0 in the tournament’s opening game thanks to the individual brilliance of one of the continent’s most popular footballers.
Diouf also played a major role in helping Senegal draw with Denmark and Uruguay as well as beat Sweden in extra time in Round 2, before losing to Turkey in the quarterfinals.
Following his impressive campaign in Senegal’s first World Cup appearance nine years ago, Liverpool wasted no time in jumping at the prospect of securing the service of the Senegalese legend and a fee believed to be in the region of £10 million was paid for his service.