The death of the sports icon awakens Senegal to the threat of the coronavirus

DAKAR Senegal is in mourning after the death of one of its main sports icons in coronavirus , as the government struggles to impose health restrictions on the West African state.

Former Olympique de Marseille President Pape Diouf He died Tuesday night at age 68 in the capital Dakar after hiring COVID-19.

The first ever black President of a top European football club, a onetime journalist, was idolized in his native Senegal.

Diouf was the first to die from coronavirus in the country.

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His death was a wake-up call.

Adama Ndione, vice President of an Olympique de Marseille fan club in Senegal , said he had "spilled a lot of tears" over his hero's death.

He was a Senegal ese, a perfect example of success in everything he did, an example for us, Ndione said.

Tributes have poured in for Diouf from Senegal ese dignitaries, with President Macky Sall calling him an "eminence grise of football " and the singer Youssou Ndour saying he was a "formidable and multi-dimensional man".

Diouf's death has put a human face on what has tended to be a distant concern in Senegal.

The former French colony has recorded 190 coronavirus infections to date, and as in other poor African states, there are fears that the government is ill-equipped for a large outbreak.

Last week, Sall announced a state of emergency in order to curb coronavirus, imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew. He has also banned large gatherings, mosque prayers and shut schools.

But the government has struggled to enforce some of these measures, and the police sometimes have to disperse crowds of worshipers.

Senegal that are debating whether the government should impose stricter measures as the virus spreads, even though many workers in the informal sector are suffering as sales plummet.

Local government officials, such as the mayor of Dakar's working-class district, Medina, complain of widespread disregard for anti-virus measures.

Pape's death creates awareness through its strong resonance, said psychologist Serigne Mor Mbaye, quoted by local media.

We saw it as omnipotent, at an inaccessible level, he added.

Adama Ndione, of the Marseille fan club, said people had not wanted to believe in the threat posed by coronavirus, but would now start to fear it.