As per the local media and the West African state’s football federation, Legendary Senegal midfielder Papa Bouba Diop passed away at the age of 42 on 29th November, 2020 (Sunday). Diop is best known in his native country for scoring the goal which secured a historic 1-0 win over the then defending champions France, in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup held in Japan and South Korea. The Senegalese squad reached the quarter finals of the tournament before getting knocked out by Turkey.
Diop became Senegal’s top scorer in the tournament by scoring two more goals in Senegal’s 3-3 draw with Uruguay in the group stage.
Before playing for teams in Switzerland and France, Diop started his club career in Senegal. He spent most of his career in England, though in the English Premier League he represented both Fulham and Portsmouth.
Diop made 98 Premier League appearances for Fulham and scored 10 goals. Due to his stature, he was affectionately nicknamed “The Wardrobe”.
Fulham FC tweeted, “We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42. Rest well, Wardrobe.”
After joining Portsmouth in 2007, he further played in the top flight for 53 times and became a FA Cup Winner in 2008.
The six-foot-five versatile defensive player had short stints with at AEK Athens, West Ham United and Birmingham City before retiring from playing almost seven years ago.
On Sunday evening, the news was confirmed by FIFA on their official twitter handle,
“FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop. Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero”.
The President of Senegal also paid his tributes on twitter,” The death of Papa Bouba Diop is a great loss for Senegal.”
Current Senegal international Sadio Mane wrote on Instagram,
“Papa 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.”
Diop, who won 63 caps for Senegal lost his long-time fight against Charcot-Marie-tooth disease.