Even the greatest are inspired in life, that’s exactly how former Black Stars captain Abedi Pele Ayew feels as he paid tribute to his fallen mentor Pape Diouf.
Pape succumbed to the coronavirus on Tuesday in his home town, Dakar, Senegal. he was a former journalist who rose to become the only African President of French side Olympic de Marseille from 2005 to 2009.
Before then, the astute football administrator was an agent who represented many African and global football icons including Marcel Desailly, William Gallas, Didier Drogba, and Abedi Pele as he managed them to greatness.
Pele was key for Marseille when they won the UEFA Champions League against AC Milan in 1993 and the three-time African footballer of the year will never forget how Diouf inspired him after the 1993 Champions League final.
“I remember after the 1993 UEFA Champions League final he told me; ‘you’re the black Maradona and Africa will always be proud of you’. I was the man of the match that day,” a soft-spoken Pele told BBC’s Focus on Africa.
Pele who is also father to football stars Andre and Jordan Ayew says the current situation around the COVID-19 pandemic can’t allow his family to see off his mentor.
“It’s so sad. As a family, we are grieving more because we are unable to bury him anywhere be it France or Senegal because of the coronavirus,” Pele added.
The tributes have continued to pour in from across the world, apart from the Ayew family, Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy has also paid tribute to the fallen gallant sports administrator.