Enrique Macaya: A life as a sports journalist, 64 years of World Cup passion

Por AIPS América

7 de diciembre de 2022

DOHA, December 2, 2022 – The World Cup in Qatar has served up many twists and turns already in the group stage, generating great interest with unexpected, unique and historic happenings. Among these things was the AIPS Journalists on the Podium being held during the FIFA World Cup for the first time. In Doha, sports journalists who have covered eight or more World Cups were awarded for their longevity covering the tournament. The event was held in collaboration with FIFA and saw 82 journalists receive mini World Cup trophies from football legend, Ronaldo, a two-time World Cup champion with Brazil. The number one on the podium of the event was Enrique Macaya (88). The Argentine is covering his 17th World Cup in Qatar – 60 incredible years in the profession. 60 years of passion for his work such that neither his age nor the 17 hours of direct flight to Doha would deter him from being present in Qatar.
 

Hombre parado junto a una señal de alto

Descripción generada automáticamente con confianza mediaEnrique Macaya Márquez is presented with a world cup replica trophy by FIFA Legend Ronaldo during an AIPS / FIFA Journalist on the Podium ceremony (Photo by Brendan Moran/FIFA)


GROWING AS A JOURNALIST Macaya began his journalism career at the age of 15 for an important radio station in Buenos Aires.

“My father worked in the newspaper, there was a vacancy and I started working as an employee. But, logically, what fundamentally encouraged me was the attraction that I felt for the game of football and particularly for the ball,” he explained. «When I could, I played it and when I couldn’t, I approached those who played it and tried to analyse it.»

This passion led him to immediately work for another high-level radio station, eventually spending more than 73 years in the profession. He expressed specifically and definitively: «I am a journalist, above all, for football.»

FIRST WORLD CUP The first World Cup for Macaya was 64 years ago, Sweden 1958, which he remembers for the surprise that the Argentines gave.

“We believed that we were advanced, that technically we could overcome any adversary,” Macaya said: “Germany won the first game and then Czechoslovakia scored six goals against Argentina. Something that few remember. It was a surprising event,” he said.
 Enrique Macaya Enrique Macaya showing his first accreditation, Sweden 1958 World CupEnrique Macaya showing his first accreditation, Sweden’s 1958 World Cup 
MEXICO ’86 The World Cups that leave a mark are in the end those that stir up personal feelings. That is why the 1986 World Cup – and the success of the Argentine team – occupies an important place in the heart of this veteran. 

«I closely followed the preparation of the Argentine team for Mexico ’86. I learned a lot about what they were going to do or what they proposed to do,» he remembered. “I closely observed Maradona’s brilliant year, the performance of that team was appealing to a non-traditional system in Argentine football. Champions came out and I felt represented. That was the best World Cup I’ve ever experienced but for a personal matter,” he explained.

GOOD MEMORIES “I remember that once Argentina became champions,” Enrique recalled, «the young and not so young journalists who represented other South American countries came to congratulate me, very enthusiastically, and I told them: ‘but look, I didn’t play, those who played are there, raising the cup’. And they said yes, but you contributed to these players being able to raise the cup because, when you had to criticise, you did it, when you had to praise, you did it and in some way, consequently contributed to the result that today we are definitely celebrating,” he recalled. The trip culminated in the 17-time World Cup journalist getting the unique opportunity of hugging the trophy and singing with the players on the triumphant return flight back home.
 Un grupo de personas haciendo gestos con la mano

Descripción generada automáticamente con confianza bajaThe journalist Jose Maria Muñoz with Enrique Macaya, after Argentina’s victory in the World Cup Mexico 86′.
DOHA 2022 Macaya said the World Cup in Qatar will be remembered for optimal coverage. But regarding the organisation of the tournament, he added: «The journalist has been given the information that corresponds to him,» he commented. “You have to wait for the final parts where the games that can matter the most are really played, beyond the fact that these are group games. Consequently, we will have to wait to talk about quality.

“As for the stadiums, fantastic. Financial support, on the other hand, is present. I have to say that this is a phenomenon that is getting bigger, that is growing and ultimately, the international federation will have to be responsible for what is coming in the future,” he specified.

As for the next World Cups, “this continues to grow. I believe that it is very difficult to think about the future, to imagine with a certain rigor, what will be the reality that is coming upon us, things multiply, tasks become easier, they are organised much better and answers are found adequately,” concluded Enrique Macaya.

MEETING INFANTINO Actually it was like a meeting between old friends – friends of many years. «Ultimately, we are not friends but we have shared many important things such as the World Cups,” said Macaya, referring to his meeting with Gianni Infantino.

The day before the ceremony, he had the opportunity to witness, together with his partner Jorge da Silveira, the AIPS president Gianni Merlo and the FIFA president, the Portugal-Uruguay match.L to R: Enrique Macaya, Gianni Infantino, FIFA President, Jorge da Silveira, Uruguayan journalist and Gianni Merlo, AIPS president at the Lusail stadium during the match Uruguay – Portugal in Doha, Qatar (Photo by FIFA)

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