By Giovanni Wanneh
Football Writer, kick442.com-Cameroon
On March 31, 2020, the football fraternity lost a global icon in Mababa Pape Diouf to the Coronavirus pandemic, aged 69.
The Senegalese Journalist and football promoter has been immortalised not just by faith, but by the remnants of works he leaves behind on earth.
It is touching how players have continued to extend sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the former Olympic Marseille president who impacted lives in many ways.
Keeping in mind his legacy in ‘the beautiful’ game, kick442.com pays tribute to the fallen hero with the best starting 11 with whom he worked with before his end.
The starting 11 consists of those who played with Olympic Marseille when Diouf was president, and those he managed as a sports agent;
Joseph Antoine Bell (GK)
Between the sticks is Joseph Antoine Bell, fondly called Jojo Bell. The Cameroonian shot stopper had a 20 year successful career in which his best moments came for Marseille from 1985-1988. Despite being under the shadow of Thomas Nkono for most of the time in the Cameroon national team, Bell, a former client of Pape Diouf had a scintillating club life for his over 7 clubs he played with.
Marcel Desailly (CB)
Marcel Desailly had Pape Diouf as an agent, and as per glory of silverware, the Frenchman is in the conversation of late Pape’s best ever clients. Desailly played with Marseille from 1989-1993. The latter won the World Cup, European championship and the Confederation Cup with the French national team between late 90’s and early 2000’s.
Rigobert Song (RB)
Former Cameroon skipper Rigobert Song benefited from Pape’s know-how to get lovable contracts at Liverpool, West Ham and Galatasaray. It is fair to say Pape Diouf brought the Defender to the lamplight.
Taiye Taiwo (LB)
Energetic and ever-willing Nigerian fullback Taiye Taiwo played for Olympic Marseille when Pape Diouf was club president and makes the left back position his own in this team.
Souleymane Diawara (CB)
Former Olympic Marseille captain and Diouf’s country-man Souleymane Diawara partners with Marcel Desailly at the heart of the defense.
In the midfield diamond, Marc Vivian Foe partners with William Gallas, giving a certain freedom to Salomon Olembe who had a successful spell as an Olympian with Pape as president.
William Gallas played for Marseille from 1997 to 2001 in that holding midfield position where he scored two goals in 85 games. Despite not managing a trophy during his Marseille days, the Pape Diouf effect could be felt with William Gallas as he went on to play for three London clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, courtesy of his agent’s wit.
Salomon Olembe accumulated a massive 75 caps for Marseille from between 2001-2007, witnessing the highs of Pape Diouf when he was president of the club.
Marc Vivian Foe (CDM)
Pape Diouf has surely joined former client Marc Vivian Foe in eternity. The midfielder’s career was flattened by his infamous death in the 2003 Confederation Cup but before leaving the scene, Marc Vivian Foe played for five clubs and scored 24 in his holding midfield position from 1994-2003.
Didier Drogba (RW)
Didier Yves Drogba is in the conversation for one of the most dreaded African striker of all-time and quite right does he make the team. Drogba’s rise to stardom started with Olympic Marseille and Pape Diouf was at the center of it as his agent. Drogba played for Marseille in just a single season (2003-2004) and banged 19 goals.
Samir Nasri (LW)
Pape Diouf worked with Samir Nasri in double capacity; president at Olympic Marseille and the player’s agent. The current Anderlecht man played for Marseille between 2004-2008 and scored 11 goals.
Patrick Mboma (CF)
Henri Patrick Mboma Dem was one of the classic’s Pape Diouf worked with. Having played for 11 teams in his prestigious career that lasted 13 years, Mboma has always held him with high esteem.
There are several other players relevant in the discussion of this team. The likes of the Ayew brothers, Bill Tchato, admits others would have to settle for a spot on a hotly contested bench equally.
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