Following the success of Senegal in the ongoing Fifa 2022 Qatar World Cup, the players have come out to dedicate their World Cup win over Ecuador to the late Papa Bouba Diop, who starred for the country at the 2002 finals. Their 2-1 win over the South Americans on Tuesday, the win sealed the West Africans’ progress to the last 16.
Senegal Dedicates Round of 16 Qualification to Papa Bouba Diop
Papa Bouba Diop scored the winning goal as debutants Senegal shocked holders France in the opening game of the tournament 20 years ago. Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly wore a special armband against Ecuador with ’19’ which is Diop’s shirt number – on it and said he would give his man of the match award to Diop’s family.
According to the Chelsea star, he said: “We knew the anniversary of his death was something very important for his family.” He “also said: “We wanted to pay homage to him, he made me dream when I was a boy. We wanted to commemorate the great player he was. He’s a legend of Senegalese football.”
Diop helped Senegal reach the World Cup quarter-finals in Japan and South Korea, making them just the second African team to reach that stage of the finals after Cameroon in 1990. The late star player was nicknamed ‘The Wardrobe’, he later had spells in England with Fulham, Portsmouth, West Ham United and Birmingham City.
Koulibaly whose goal was his first in 67 appearances for Senegal, revealed his side had been inspired by a pre-game message from Sadio Mane. He said the Bayern Munich forward sent “them a message saying even though he is not there, he is still with them.