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Le Monde
Le Monde
2 Sep 2023

Salif Keita playing for Saint-Etienne, in 1969.

Former Mali, Marseille and Saint-Etienne attacker Salif Keita died aged 76 on Saturday, the country's sports minister told Agence France-Presse. Minister Abdoul Kassim Ibrahim Fomba said Keita passed away in the capital city Bamako, where he was also born.

"The world of sport in Mali and particularly football pass on their condolences to Salif Keita's family and also the Malian nation," the Malian football federation (FEMAFOOT) said on Twitter, which has been rebranded as 'X'.

Keita won the French league title three times with Saint-Etienne and the Coupe de France on two occasions. After leaving Saint-Etienne, Keita joined Marseille and then moved to Valencia in Spain, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal before ending his club career in the United States in 1980.

"The Black Panther has left us, taking a part of our club with him," Saint-Etienne said in a statement on social media.

For his country, he made his debut as a 16-year-old and was part of the squad which finished second in the 1972 African Cup of Nations. In 1970 he won the first African Ballon d'Or and even acted in a film with the same name, loosely inspired by his story, which came out in 1994.

In 1991, he spent a year as delegate minister in Mali's government and in 2005 was elected as president of FEMAFOOT.

Le Monde with AFP