Nottingham Forest’s defender, Cheikhou Kouyate has left Senegal’s AFCON squad, gripped by the sorrow of his father’s untimely passing this Tuesday.
The 34-year-old, compelled to exit the camp, embarks on a solemn journey following the demise of his father, Bangiougou. The grieving son will solemnly attend his father’s funeral in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Senegal’s football federation, in a heartfelt statement, extends condolences with profound regret to the seasoned national team player in the aftermath of this distressing news.
‘The president of the Senegalese Football Federation Mr Augustin Senghor, the members of the executive committee, the coach of the national football team Mr Aliou Cisse, the players of the national football team and the football family have the regret and deep pain to inform you of the death of Mr Bangiougou Kouyate, father of Cheikhou Kouyate, member of the Senegal national team,’ their statement expressed.
‘His death occurred this Tuesday, January 16, in Dakar. The funeral is planned for Wednesday January 17 at the Khar Yalla mosque followed by the burial at the Musalman cemetery in Yoff.
‘In this painful circumstance, the Senegalese Football Federation presents its most saddened condolences to Cheikhou Kouyate who was also authorised to leave the national team gathering today to go to the funeral in Dakar.’
Kouyate, contributing to his fifth AFCON with the national team, remained an unused substitute in the titleholder’s opening match against Gambia, witnessing the Lions of Teranga secure a 3-0 victory.
As the team’s vice captain with an impressive 90 caps, the Premier League player’s availability for the upcoming group stage match against Cameroon on Friday remains uncertain, given the weight of his personal loss.
The impact of his father’s departure is likely to resonate deeply with Kouyate, who, in 2018, regarded him as his most devoted fan. Reflecting on their unique bond, the then-Crystal Palace player shared, ”My dad watches every game I play,’ the then-Crystal Palace player shared. ‘Every time, if I play well, he’ll say, “no, no, you played badly,” and every time I play badly, he’ll say “yeah, you played bad.’
‘But (his criticism) is good; he wants me every time to push myself. He tells my mother, “if I tell our son he’s playing good, he’ll go and do nothing!”. I like that he pushes me every day to work hard.
‘Everything I do on the field, I want to do my best for my Dad.’