Senegal World Cup star and former Premier League player Papa Bouba Diop has died aged 42, the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) has confirmed.Diop made 63 appearances for his country with the highlight of his international career coming at the 2002 World Cup where he scored the first goal of the tournament as Senegal stunned reigning champion France 1-0. He went on to score two more goals in the competition as Senegal reached the quarterfinals.
Diop started his club career in Senegal before playing for teams in Switzerland and France. The midfielder also played for English clubs Fulham, Portsmouth, West Ham and, briefly, Birmingham confirmed the news, saying: “FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop. Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero. A tough central midfielder who earned the nickname “The Wardrobe” during his Premier League career, Diop could also play in central defence.– Diop was six-foot-five — he won the FA Cup during his time at Portsmouth and the club paid tribute to the versatile midfielder. After a brief spell at AEK Athens, He returned to London to play for West Ham before finishing his career at Birmingham City seven years ago and had reportedly been suffering from a long illness.
Senegal president Macky Sall in his tribute said his death was “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.” Current Senegal international and Liverpool star Sadio Mane wrote on Instagram: “Pape Bouba, it was with a broken heart that we learned of your (death). Know that you will forever remain in our hearts even if you left without saying goodbye to us.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who played against Diop’s Portsmouth for Cardiff in the 2008 FA Cup final, said on Sky Sports: “He was a good player, and it’s a sad, sad moment. We all feel for his family, and are thinking about them at this difficult time.”
Author: Andrew Collins