Senegal has lost one of her illustrious sons who was a model to many locals in the football circles and beyond, the Teranga Lions coach Aliou Cissé said while paying a tribute to former Marseille president Pape Diouf who died of Coronavirus in Dakar on Tuesday.
The former journalist and football agent was among the first batch of people diagnosed with the Covid-19 in his native Senegal, where he was spending time with old relatives, having travelled from his base in France.
Senegal’s health ministry said preparations were being finalised to move the 79-year-old back to France for better treatment when he passed away.
“We have been following his situation and when we heard he was in critical condition yesterday, the entire country began to pray for him. Pape meant a lot to us,” Cissé told ACLSports from Dakar.
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“His demise is a nationwide shock. He was full of life. He came on a private and professional trip. He was in Ivory Coast few weeks ago. He was okay. And even when he tested positive to the virus nobody thought this would eventually happen.
“Pape was a symbol of success for us all because he was the first Senegalese to reach such heights in France, in Europe. He was just a journalist who became a legend in France,” he said.
Senegal currently has 175 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.