Guinea pays tribute to iconic former captain ‘Papa’ Camara

AFRICAN FOOTBALL

Guinea pays tribute to iconic former captain ‘Papa’ Camara

Guinea pays tribute to iconic former captain ‘Papa’ Camara

The Guinean forward died in Conakry at the age of 66 after a long illness.

Last week, Guinean football legend Naby Laye ‘Papa’ Camara passed away. Several tributes in the west African country poured in for the former forward.

‘Papa’ died at the age of 66 after a long illness on the night of 4 January in Conakry.

Well known for his dribbling skills, he is regarded as one of Guinea’s all-time great players.

Back in the 70s, Camara was captain of the Guinea national football team, known as the Syli Nationale.

"A great loss to Guinean football"

On Sunday, the government organised a tribute for Camara at the 28 September Stadium in Conakry.

Antonio Souaré, the president of Guinea’s Football Association, led the tributes for the former forward.

"The death is a great loss to Guinean football. Let's thank God because he wanted it this way. May his soul rest in peace," said Souaré.

"Camara made huge sacrifices for Guinean football and I have wonderful memories of this outstanding footballer whose death is also a loss to African and world football.

"I knew and admired Papa Camara. I saw him playing in the rough terrains and beautiful beaches of Conakry during his playing time.

"He was the player who had the gift of controlling the ball with his head, chest and feet. He shone and seduced the world in the 1976 Afcon finals, where Syli Nationale reached the final," Souaré recalled.

The Republic of Guinea’s president, Alpha Condé, was among the several personalities that were at the 28 September Stadium to pay tribute to the legendary footballer.

Camara was buried in Conakry on Sunday.

One of Guinea’s best

Former Sierra Leone international star Sam Obi Metzger recalled Camara in an interview with BBC Sport.

"He was a great, iconic player, one of the best players Guinea have ever produced, he will be missed," Metzger said.

"I played against him several times both at national team and club level and he always stood out.

"His death is not only a great loss to Guinea but African football as a whole," added Metzger

‘Papa’ was a crucial part of the Guinea side that finished as runners-up at the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

He is also regarded as a legend for Haifa FC, a club with which he won three continental titles, in 1972, 1975 and 1977.

In 1976, Camara came close to winning the African Player of the Year award, finishing second to Cameroon’s Roger Milla.

He retired from football in the early 80’s, and would later serve as an assistant coach for Guinea. He managed the Syli Nationale at the 1994 African Cup of Nations.

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