Mali’s Iconic Musician Salif Keita Passes Away at 76 Years Old
Salif Keita, the former Malian, Marseille, and Saint-Etienne player, sadly passed away at the age of 76 on Saturday, according to the country’s sports minister, Abdoul Kassim Ibrahim Fomba. Keita died in the capital city of Bamako, where he was born. Having retired in 1980, he had a successful club career in France.
The Malian football federation, known as FEMAFOOT, expressed their condolences to Keita’s family and the entire nation of Mali on Twitter, which is now rebranded as ‘X’.
Keita achieved great success in his career, winning the French league title three times with Saint-Etienne and the French Cup twice. Saint-Etienne released a statement on social media, mourning the loss of their former player and acknowledging that a part of their club goes with him.
After his time with Saint-Etienne, Keita went on to play for Marseille and then moved to Valencia in Spain, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, and finally ended his club career in the United States.
On the international stage, Keita made his debut at the age of 16 and was part of the squad that finished second in the 1972 African Cup of Nations.
In 1970, Keita became the first African recipient of the Ballon d’Or and even had a film loosely based on his life with the same name released in 1994. He also served as a delegate minister in Mali’s government in 1991 and was elected president of FEMAFOOT in 2005.
We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Salif Keita and the entire nation of Mali during this difficult time.