Senegal World Cup hero Papa Bouba Diop dies aged 42

Senegal World Cup hero Papa Bouba Diop dies aged 42
Senegal player Papa Bouba Diop (right)

by Bertin Basson

Monday Nov 30, 2020. 09:00

On Sunday the football world mourned the death of former Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop who passed away at the age of 42.

Diop is best remembered for scoring his country’s first FIFA World Cup goal. The Dakar-born midfielder scored the opening goal at the 2002 showpiece in South Korea/ Japan as the Lions of Teranga claimed a 1-0 win over defending champions France. Senegal went on to reach the quarter-finals.

FIFA confirmed his death, stating: “FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop. Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”

Senegal president Macky Sall also paid tribute to the former star, tweeting: “The death of Pape Bouba Diop is a great loss for Senegal.

“I pay tribute to a good footballer, respected by all for his courtesy and his talent, proudly reminding us of the Lions saga in 2002. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and to the football world.”

Diop started his playing career in his native Senegal before moving to Vevey United in Switzerland. He’d then move to Xamax and Grasshoppers before joining French club Lens ahead of the 2002 World Cup.

A move to Fulham would follow in 2004 before spells at Portsmouth, AEK Athens, West Ham United and eventually Birmingham City. In total, Diop scored eight goals in 129 Premier League appearances while he was famously part of the Portsmouth side that won the 2008 FA Cup.

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