Ghanain Legend Abedi Pele Ayew has paid tribute to former Olympic Marseille President Pape Diouf who passed away last Tuesday from the pandemic coronavirus disease in Dakar, Senegal.
Pele said that Diouf was a man of greatness and helped shape his career at Marseille when he won the UEFA Champions League against AC Milan in 1993.
“There is no amount of words to describe Pape Diouf. At this particular moment, all I can say is that Pape was a father, a senior brother, and then a manager,” said ayew
“He managed my children Jordan and Andre. He took them to Marseille at the age of 14.
“Everybody is saying that I’ve got wonderful children – they are well-respected and disciplined in the society – but it was not me who did that; it was Pape.
“When he took them to Marseille and they were at the academy, the first thing he would ask them was, ‘where are your school reports? I want to see them before you even greet me,” he added
The three-time African Footballer of the year described Diouf ‘s death as a sad and difficult moment for him.
“This is somebody who was more than everything to us – and to me especially, because he saw me growing up and achieving great things in Marseille and beyond.
“So, it is a very difficult moment for us and it’s sad.
“In the nineties, when I got to Marseille, Pape was a journalist, writing for one of the biggest newspapers in Marseille. He was somebody who was respected all across French sport. And he was always very close to the team Marseille.
“He was someone who saw a career for me in football and managed me to success.
“After the Champions League finale in ’93, when he was my agent, he said to me, ‘you are the black Maradona.’ Because I was voted the Man of the Match in that particular game.
“And he said, ‘Africa will always be proud of you. You are the black Maradona.’
Ayew emphasizes that Pape was bigger than any words, intelligent, kind, was loved and loved people.
“He was a great personality. And unique. You could not have two of him.
“He went above race, colour, religion, whatever you can name. He was respected across the board. He was a big, big, big personality.”