By Mukwuzi Joseph
Ex-Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop has died aged 42.
The former Fulham, Portsmouth and West Ham midfielder passed on after a long battle with illness, according to several reports in Senegal.
The midfielder became a national hero when he scored the goal which saw Senegal beat France 1-0 in their opening World Cup game in 2002.
He first arrived in English football when he joined Fulham from Lens in 2004. He later joined Portsmouth in 2007 and after a stint with AEK Athens returned to the top flight by joining West Ham in 2011.
After one season with the Hammers, he joined Birmingham City before being released in January 2013.
Diop won 63 caps for Senegal, scoring 11 goals including his historic World Cup strike.
Barthélémy Dias, the mayor of Mermoz Sacré-Cœur in Senegal paid tribute to Bouba Diop on Sunday, writing on social media: :Thank you GAINDÉ for making us dream so much.
“Your name will forever be engraved in the Football Hall of Fame alongside great legends.
“May God welcome you in his Paradise.”