Mali has paid a final, moving tribute to the football legend and so-called “monument man” Salif Keita who died at the weekend at the age of 76.
Hundreds of people, including former teammates and Mali Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga, attended his funeral at the Place du Cinquantenaire, on the banks of the Niger River, in Bamako on Wednesday.
They were saying farewell to the man who in 1970 became the first winner of the African Ballon d’Or.
Keita made his debut for Mali at just 16 and went on to play 28 times for his country. He was part of the Mali squad which finished second in the 1972 African Cup of Nations.
Delegations came from neighbouring Senegal, Ivory Coast and Guinea as well as from France where Keita played for Saint-Etienne and Marseille.
While at Saint-Etienne he won the French League title three times and the French Cup twice.
He also appeared in a movie, loosely inspired by his story, which was released in 1994.