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Thousands pay homage to Senegal icon Bocande

DAKAR, Senegal, May 16 – Tens of thousands of people on Tuesday filled a Dakar stadium to pay homage to Senegalese football icon Jules-Francois Bocande who died in France on May 7.

Senegalese President Macky Sall was due to speak at the ceremony, along with government ministers and sports authorities.

Bocande’s coffin stood draped with the national flag as a choir sang and people gave tearful speeches for the much-loved footballer. He will be buried Wednesday in his hometown of Ziguinchor in the Casamance region.

Former players such as El Hadji Diouf, Kalilou Fadiga and Tony Sylva, addressed the crowd.

“He was a father, a brother, an advisor. My heart aches, I can’t say anything, excuse me,” Diouf said briefly.

Bocande had been unwell for several months after suffering a stroke and died aged 54 following a surgical procedure, according to the Senegalese Press Agency (APS).

He enjoyed his greatest success as a player with Metz, where he was crowned top scorer after netting 25 goals in Ligue 1 in the 1985-86 season.

Bocande also played for Paris Saint-Germain, Nice and Lens in France and participated in three Africa Cups of Nations with his country, whom he captained.

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