Togolese striker Kossi Koudagba was laid to rest on Saturday in his hometown of Davie.
Many fans, teammates and friends were on hand to pay their last respects to Koudagba with former Togolese national team captain Emmanuel Adebayor among the mourners.
Adebayor was pictured at the player’s graveside and was seen offering his condolences to his relatives.
Koudagba died on 18 June at the age of 25 following a brief bout of malaria.
He was on the books of ASC Kara was regarded as one of the top strikers in the Togolese first division before his death.
He finished as the top striker in Togo for two years in a row and won the league in 2019.
He was also named as the best striker in his time with the second-tier club Espoir FC de Tsévié.
Reports say Koudagba contracted malaria in his hometown Dévié located in the suburbs of the capital Lomé where he had gone to stay with his relatives after the football season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His death was met with disbelief and widespread grief.
Jean-Marie Eloh, manager of ASC Kara, said: “His only concern was to put the ball at the back of the net and he was doing that very, very well.”
The Togo FA released a statement which read: “In these painful circumstances, the Executive Committee of the FTF wish to salute the memory of the player, whose qualities on and off the field are known to all.
“The FTF Executive Committee would like, on behalf of Togolese football, to express our deepest condolences and express our feelings of sympathy to the family of the deceased, loved ones, the ASCK club, as well as the staff and players of the Togo national team.”
Koudagba was set to join Tunisian side US Tataouine last year but failed his medical because of heart problems.
He made three appearances for the national team and was named in the squad for last year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
In September last year, he scored the first in Togo’s 2-1 win over Nigeria in the West Africa Football Union Cup of Nations.
Koudagba turned down moves abroad so that he could play for his country.
With the national team, he was a key part of the first-ever qualification of Togo for the CHAN – the pan-African international competition for domestic-based players.
He was named in the pre-selection of The Sparrowhawks for the tournament scheduled in April – before being postponed by CAF due to the coronavirus pandemic.