Mali Bids Goodbye To Salif Keita, The Late Hero Of African Soccer

Photos: YouTube Screenshots

Mali paid a final, moving tribute in Bamako on Wednesday to African football legend and “monument man” Salif Keita who died at the weekend at the age of 76.

Hundreds of people, including former teammates and Mali Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga, flocked to his funeral at the Place du Cinquantenaire, on the banks of the Niger River.

There they said goodbye to the man who in 1970 became the first winner of the African Ballon d’Or.

“He gave everything to Mali — as a player, coach, minister. His football academy produced geniuses for Mali,” said Idrissa Maïga, a friend and former club and national teammate. “Go in peace.”

Keita made his debut for Mali at just 16 and went on to play 28 times for his country. He was part of the Mali squad which finished second in the 1972 African Cup of Nations.


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