Mail lost a gem on Saturday 2 September. A legend of the game of football in his country. Legend of African football. A route to a path through which many youngsters trod to get out of Africa to become big stars.

Played for St Etienne, Marseille in France, Valencia in Spain, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and in Northern America, this man made his international debut at the age of 16.

Salif Keita died at the age of 76 and Africa has lost a true legend.

He was the very first player to win the CAF African Footballer of the Year in 1970. He set up an academy in Mali that produced many big players. And he served as President of the Mali Football Federation for four years (2005-2009).

We celebrate this great man and his life and impact on the game in Africa, commiserating with his family and people whose lives he touched, and echo what one of his closest younger relatives said upon hearing the news of his demise, ‘he was a good man’.

Although gone, the legend of Salif Keita lives on.