Fifa president Gianni Infantino mourns fallen Cameroon player Modeste M’bami
Tributes are pouring in for former Cameroon midfielder, Modeste M’bami, who died on Saturday aged 40.
Several sources including his former club and teammates confirmed the member of the Indomitable Lions gold-medal winning squad at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Australia died of cardiac arrest in France.
Then 18-years-old, M’bami was the star of the quarterfinals of the Sydney 2000 tournament, coming from the bench to score a golden goal against Brazil that sent Cameroon into the semis.
The Indomitable Lions, as the Cameroon national soccer team is known then beat Chile to proceed to the final.
At the final, the Indomitable Lions came back from two goals down to level at 2-2, before clinching the gold medal on penalties against Spain.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino said he was saddened by the player’s death. He shared a photo of the midfielder on his Instagram with the message: “such sad new, RIP Modeste M’bami”.
After the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the young M’bami moved to France where he played for Ligue1 sides, Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille until 2009 winning two French cups with PSG.
PSG said on its twitter page that it was mourning after it learned “with deep sadness” of M’bami’s demise following a heart attack. “The Club presents its sincere condolences to his family and loved ones”, the club twitted.
He also had spells in Spain, China, Saudi Arabia and Colombia before his retirement in 2016.
During his nine-year international career, M’bami had 37 caps for the Indomitable Lions scoring three goals. Besides the 2000 Olympics, he was also part of the Cameroon squad that reached the finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003 during which another midfielder, Marc-Vivien Foe died of heart attack in the semi-final match against Columbia.
Former teammate and Cameroon FA president, Samuel Eto’o Fils lamented that M’bami left too soon.
Rigobert Song another former teammate and current coach of the Indomitable Lions shared a photo of him, M’bami after a training session at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana eulogizing him as a talented player.
“I will never forget your cheerfulness, your talent and your zest for life. Rest in peace my little brother [Modeste M’bami]” Song said in a tribute on social media page.
In November 2019, M’bami rejected an appointment by the Cameroon FA as the Team Manager of the Intermediate Lions of Cameroon ahead of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) that the country hosted which Morocco won.
The Olympics gold medalist said his refusal was in part because of poor relationship between the federation and former players appointed to similar positions.
The Cameroon FA had not communicated on the former midfielder’s death at the time of this report.