Former Senegal international, Papa Bouba Diop has died aged 42.
Diop was part of the squad that rejuvenated soccer in Senegal, leading the West African country to their first world cup in 2002 alongside former African Footballer of the Year, El-Hadj Diouf. He eventually scored the winner in the tournament’s opening game as his country beat the then defending champions France 1-0.
Diop played 129 Premier League games during his stints with West Ham United and Birmingham City.
The Terranga Lions then set a record to be another debutant that reached the quarter-finals. Diop scored twice more in the 3-3 group-stage draw with Uruguay before losing on penalties.
He played four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, which included when Senegal were runners-up in 2002 against Argentina. He retired in 2013.
Reaction to the passage of Papa Bouba Diop
Reacting to his death, FIFA described him as a hero.
“Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero,” Fifa posted on social media.
FIFA is saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop.— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 29, 2020
Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero. pic.twitter.com/akUJoPxCal
Papa Bouba Diop: 1978 – 2020.— #TotalCAFCL (@CAF_Online) November 29, 2020
Rest In Peace lion. ♥️🇸🇳 pic.twitter.com/UrEY5y3Oit
Fulham on its Twitter account wrote: “We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42. Rest well, Wardrobe.”
We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42.— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) November 29, 2020
Rest well, Wardrobe 🖤 pic.twitter.com/rvU53Vqkmn
For you, Wardrobe.— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) November 29, 2020
RIP Papa Bouba Diop. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/f0WHEVvhka
Everyone at West Ham United is saddened to learn of the passing of Papa Bouba Diop at just 42.— West Ham United (@WestHam) November 29, 2020
A part of our 2011/12 promotion-winning squad, he'll always be a part of our Club. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.
Rest in peace, Papa ❤️ pic.twitter.com/2S1mwMR17c
We are devastated to learn of the passing of former player Papa Bouba Diop at the age of 42.— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) November 29, 2020
Our thoughts are with Papa’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time. 💙 pic.twitter.com/OAXuJScDMw
Having helped Portsmouth, who were managed by Harry Redknapp at the time to win the FA Cup in 2008, the tactician described him as a giant.
“He was such a wonderful character.He was fantastic for me, a great character, always happy and always had a smile on his face. He was a giant of a man.
“He had no aggression in him. He looked aggressive on the pitch because he was so big, but there was nothing nasty about him.My thoughts are with all his family.” Redknapp told BBC Radio 5 Live.
It was gathered that he passed away aged after a battle with illness. The Mirror of UK reported that Diop had been suffering from a long-time illness, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.