Story courtesy of By Ben Church and Kevin Dotson,(CNN) Photo Courtesy of Jed Leidster Shuttlestock
Former Premier League player and Senegal World Cup star Papa Bouba Diop has died aged 42, the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) confirmed to CNN. 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. “Thanks to him and his 2002 generation, the whole world discovered Senegal, land of Terranga and Football,” FSF President Augustin Senghor said in a statement. “Rest in peace! Forever in our hearts!” On Sunday, football’s governing body FIFA said it was “saddened” to hear of Diop’s passing. “Once a World Cup hero, always a World Cup hero,” it said in a message on Twitter. Diop started his club career in Senegal before playing for teams in Switzerland and France. Much of his career was spent in England, though, where he represented both Fulham and Portsmouth in the English Premier League. Nicknamed “The Wardrobe” — Diop was six-foot-five — he won the FA Cup during his time at Portsmouth and the club paid tribute to the versatile midfielder.” The thoughts of everyone at Portsmouth Football Club are with Papa’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time,” read a statement.