Bruno Metsu, who took Senegal to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, dies

The manager, who had been coaching in the Middle East, was 59

Tuesday 15 October 2013 15:00
Bruno Metsu talks to his Senegal squad at the 2002 World Cup
Bruno Metsu talks to his Senegal squad at the 2002 World Cup

Bruno Metsu, whose Senegal side were sensations of the 2002 World Cup, has died at the age of 59.

Metsu died at home in Dunkirk on Monday night, his former clubs Lille and Nice confirmed.

Instantly recognisable at the height of his career by his long mane of hair and sharp suits, Metsu led Senegal to the World Cup quarter-finals at the tournament in Japan and South Korea.

The team nicknamed the Lions of Teranga began the tournament by beating Metsu's native France, who were defending the trophy, in the opening game, and also defeated Sweden before falling to Turkey in the last eight.

After his feat with Senegal, Metsu spent the rest of his coaching career in the Middle East, taking charge of several club sides plus the United Arab Emirates and Qatar national teams.

In July 2012 he became coach of Al Wasl, replacing Diego Maradona, but resigned in October of the same year due to illness. Metsu told the L'Equipe sports newspaper in July that doctors had advised him last October he had three months left to live after diagnosing terminal cancer.

Lille, for whom Metsu had brief spells as a player and manager, paid their own tribute.

Metsu played for the club from 1979 to 1981, and was head coach from 1992 to 1993.

The Ligue 1 side said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of Bruno Metsu."

Former Lille team-mate Stephane Plancque added a personal tribute, saying: "We played together for two seasons. I was younger than him, I knew about him already from his reputation. We quickly became close, and were room-mates for away games. He was a great guy, very grounded, a joker and had a love of life.

"He liked to joke, but he knew how to be very professional and a competitor on the pitch."

Metsu also had a spell as a player with Nice, from 1981 to 1982.

The French south-coast said in a statement: "OGC Nice are once again in mourning.

"After a long battle against illness, Bruno Metsu died last night in his native north. The club pledges support to his family and loved ones."

Claude Le Roy, who has coached Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, was taken aback by news of his fellow Frenchman's death.

Le Roy told "I'm in shock. He fought like a lion.

"We had lots in common. It's terrible for him, for (his wife) Viviane and the children. It's them I'm thinking off above all.

"I remember a magnificent smile and his joie de vivre."

Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who had the option of playing for Senegal before choosing France, was also sorry to hear of Metsu's death.

"A big thought for the family of Bruno Metsu," Gomis wrote on Twitter. "A great man and a great coach has left us."

France's sports minister Valerie Fourneyron called to mind Metsu's ebullient nature as she paid tribute.

She said: "For this man of the north, the tenacity and strength of character in adversity took the place of the rulebook. He lost his final battle but will remain, in the memory of all fans of football, a person who never gave up, this indefatigable globe-trotter of the round ball who always pushed others to go beyond their limits.

"He was a skilful midfielder, with good technical skills, who developed essentially in his stronghold of the north, whether at Dunkirk, Valenciennes, Lille or Roubaix. But this loyalty to his roots didn't restrict him from responding to the appeal of other horizons, where he showed his qualities as a coach with the national teams of Senegal, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

"His final job was as coach of Al Wasl, where he succeeded Diego Maradona, proof that this man wasn't afraid of anything.

"To his wife Viviane and their children, to all who knew or loved Bruno Metsu, I send my most sincere condolences and want to assure them of my support in this difficult time."

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