Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Marc-Vivien Foe honored by nation with state funeral

AP , YAOUNDE, CAMEROON

Cameroon marked the death of star midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe on Monday with a state funeral, remembering the national hero who died last month after collapsing mid-match as an "adorable person."

About 12,000 people lined the roads near Yaounde's main cathedral to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying Foe's coffin, and thousands more watched on national television. President Paul Biya was among the 100 congregated inside.

Eight pallbearers placed Foe's flag-covered coffin at the alter where many stepped forward to deliver eulogies.

"He was much more that a colleague or teammate. He was a brother. We can't qualify this man who has just left us," said the captain of Cameroon's national team, Rigobert Song.

Foe "was an adorable person and adviser and supporter for me. It will be so difficult to bear this disappearance," Song said church goers openly wept.

Foe was later buried on the outskirts of town, near a sports complex he was building to train younger soccer players.

Foe collapsed June 26 during a game against Colombia in the semifinal round of the Confederations Cup and was pronounced dead 45 minutes later. Cameroon won the game, but lost 1-0 to defending champion France in the final.

Foe had eight goals in 64 appearances for Cameroon's national team. He played at the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.

In France, he won the league championship with Lyon and Lens, and played at Olympique Lyon, the stadium where he died, from 2000 to 2002.

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