Home BIOGRAPHY First Africa`s Ballon d`Or winner Salif Keita dies aged 76

First Africa`s Ballon d`Or winner Salif Keita dies aged 76


Salif Keita, the inaugural African Footballer of the Year in 1970 and one of the continent’s athletic heroes, died on Saturday in Bamako at the age of 76, according to the country’s football organization. Keita played for St Etienne and Olympique de Marseille in France, as well as Valencia in Spain and Sporting Lisbon before concluding his career in the North American Soccer League.

Salif was born in Bamako and has played for AS Real Bamako and Stade Malien in Mali. He was consistently awarded Première Division champion with the former. Keita, then 20, moved to France in 1967 to join AS Saint-Étienne, where he won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, including the double in 1968 and 1970. In his final two seasons with Les Verts, he scored an incredible 71 league goals, 42 of which came in the 1970-71 season, but the squad failed to win any trophy.

In the summer of 1972, Keita joined fellow league club Olympique de Marseille. After the club tried to force him to take French nationality, he refused and left for Valencia CF in Spain in the next off-season.

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