Ex-Portsmouth and Senegal midfielder Diop dies

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Former Senegal midfielder Papa Bouba Diop has died aged 42, reportedly following a long illness.

Diop represented his country more than 60 times and at their first-ever World Cup in 2002, he scored the winner against France as they shockingly beat the reigning champions 1-0 in the tournament’s opening game.

He played for several European football clubs and also had spells with Premier League sides Fulham, West Ham United, Birmingham City and Portsmouth.

Diop’s death was confirmed on Sunday by Victor Cisse, the secretary general of the Senegalese football federation.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Twitter on Sunday it was a “great loss” for the country.

Following his death, his former clubs Fulham, West Ham United and Portsmouth tweeted a tribute to the Senegalese.

“We are devastated to hear news reports this evening that Papa Bouba Diop has passed away, aged 42. Rest well, Wardrobe”

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#Pompey are mourning the sad loss of Papa Bouba Diop, who has passed away at the age of just 42.”

“Everyone at West Ham United is saddened to learn of the passing of Papa Bouba Diop at just 42. 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”

Former club RC lens also tweeted a tribute to their former players.

“It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the demise of its former player Papa Bouba Diop , at the age of 42.

“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Ligue 1 through their twitter account said, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of former @RCLens and @FootballSenegal player Papa Bouba Diop, who passed away today at the age of 42 following a long illness.”

World football governing body FIFA, through its World Cup Twitter account, said it was “saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop”.

“Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero.”

Diop was Senegal top scorer in the 2002 World Cup when he scored two more goals in Senegal’s 3-3 draw with Uruguay in the group stage as the went on to reach the quarter-finals.

He was part of the team that lost to Cameroon on penalties in the 2002 African Cup of Nations Final.

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