By Abba Gwale
With the World still mourning the passing away of Argentina football legend, Diego Armando Maradona, another football great in Africa has passed away.
Former Senegalese international, Pape Bouba Diop, has died at the age of 42 after a protracted illness.
Diop was one of the year 2000 generation of the Senegalese national team and stood out at the 2002 World Cup by scoring the first goal of at the world cup, resulting the victory of Senegal against the defending Champions, France.
Diop was born in Rufisque, Dakar, the capital city of Senegal and he began his football career with junior team of Ndeffann Saltigue before joining ASC Diaraf of the Senegal Premier League in 1996.
He left Senegal for Switzerland, where he spent a few months with third-tier club, Vevey, before signing as a professional player for Ligue Nationale A club Neuchâtel Xamax in the 2000 close season.
In December that same year, he joined fellow top-flight club Grasshoppers which he helped to the championship title in his first half-season and made his first appearance in UEFA competitions the next.
He moved to France in January 2002 to join Lens of Ligue 1 on a five-and-a-half-year contract
Diop who has 63 caps and scored 11 goals for Senegal, also played for Fulham, Portsmouth, AEK Athens, West Ham and Birmingham city.