Papa Bouba Diop, a former midfielder who represented Senegal more than 60 times and played for several European football clubs, has died at the age of 42, reportedly following a long illness. Diop scored the first goal of the 2002 World Cup held in Japan and South Korea when Senegal shocked reigning champions France by beating them 1-0 in the opening game. Former French club Lens said it learned the news with “great sadness” and offered condolences to his family, while West London side Fulham, another former club, said they were “devastated” to hear of his death. World football governing body FIFA, through its World Cup Twitter account, s Diop was reported to have had Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, according to British media reports. aid it was “saddened to learn of the passing of Senegal legend Papa Bouba Diop”. Diop started his club career at Senegalese side ASC Diaraf before spells in Switzerland at Vevey, Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers before joining French side Lens in 2002. A move to Fulham followed and he spent three years at the club before a transfer to Portsmouth, where he was part of the team that won the 2007-08 FA Cup. He also had short stints at West Ham United and Birmingham City before retiring from playing seven years ago.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA