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African Mum Seeks Justice One Year After Footballer Son’s Mysterious Demise

African mum seeks justice one-year after footballer son’s mysterious demise

Sambo Diop was one of the major prospects coming through the ranks at French second division club Le Havre. One of those eye-marked to cut his teeth in an increasingly physical league, there was an abundant belief in the ability he possessed and played in Havre’s reserves.

Having starred twenty-one times for the fringe players in the fourth division, his quick promotion was no longer a matter of if but one of when.

At just 18, one would naturally conclude he had the world at his feet.

Supported by his mum Aram Diop, thriving in the game and onto the big stage was a dream he had a strong penchant for, to see come to fruition.

Then tragedy struck –one that brought Aram’s world understandably crumbling, taking away with it a part of her.

Samba, like all his teammates in the reserves’ setup, had been preparing for a league match to take place the following day.

He retired to his home in his orthodox routine after a final practice session but complained of feeling “extremely weak”. Late into the night, his situation deteriorated and panicked relatives had to send for an ambulance that got him hospitalised soon after. The next morning he was gone –on a journey never to return.

Aram recollects it all on that day.

“I am his mother and I would like to tell his story. Samba dreamt of becoming a professional footballer. Since he was 5 years and 3 months old, I have accompanied him and followed my son through all his training and I have always been behind him to help him fulfil this dream that was so dear to him,” she says.
“Samba was 18 years old.
“The day before his death,” she elucidates, “he trained with the reserves for a match scheduled for the next day. Returning from this last training session, he told us that he felt extremely weak. He explained to us that he had had a medical examination and that he had been injected for a discomfort he felt in his hip. I thought that his weak condition was primarily related to his training.

“By evening, his condition had worsened. He kept telling us that he had “no more juice” and asked why the doctor had given him an injection. When he made his first discomfort complaint around 1 a.m, I instinctively knew that it was much more serious than I thought. He had collapsed several times and it was there that we decided to call the emergency unit who transported him to the hospital in Le Havre.
The next morning, we learned of his sudden death from the hospital doctor.”

Naturally, Aram, hailing from Senegal as a migrant in northern France, was thrown into grief. Her adorable football-obsessed male child’s sudden death is an immeasurable loss.


A fit athlete dying suddenly was an occurrence she finds difficult to fathom and considering her Samba had no history of medical issues.

Then she grew suspicious, perhaps instigated by the late Samba’s revelation he was injected in the hip, an intuition further given somewhat credence by an autopsy report’s failure to indicate the cause of death.

Le Havre’s announcement of their player’s passing left a bitter taste to the mouth for Aram.

Aside from the flurry of condolences streaming in, the outfit merely wrote on its website: “This is a horrible moment for all the players, staff members, volunteers, administrators and leaders.”

The African mum feels more needed to been done and sought the services of a luminary seeking justice, one year on after her son’s death but investigations had been delayed.

“I had completely surrendered to justice to clarify the cause of this death while we were in mourning.

“I decided to fight for Samba and for all these young people who die. Samba’s death made headlines, but since then the investigation has stalled, with no progress made. A first autopsy report was delivered to us without any clear cause being mentioned, the presence of the said injection is mentioned but this part was not deepened for reasons which are unknown to us.

“We asked for a second opinion 6 months ago, but we have no news and we do not know if it has taken place. Since then, we have not been listened to, worse, we are ignored and our questions unanswered.
“Several cases of sudden death of sportsmen took place at the same period in other cities. These deaths also don’t seem to be taken seriously, so I can’t help but wonder: how many deaths do we need before we are all outraged by these anomalies and these sudden deaths of young athletes?

“If we speak today, it is also to re-establish the truth in the face of the numerous defamatory statements and lies that have been published by certain media outlets in recent months on this case.

“It is unbearable to me to think that young adolescents, filled with energies, dreams and hopes suddenly die just like that. It is just not normal to die from cardiac arrest at 17, 18, or 19 years of age.

“Support us so that the counter-expertise that we have requested is successful to shed light on the cause of death of my son and so that all stakeholders and the institutions concerned are actively involved in the resolution of these cases.

“I would like to know what caused his death so that we can grieve with dignity – mourning that we cannot do without access to a clear and detailed autopsy report and a proper investigation.

“We therefore expressly ask the Prosecutor of Le Havre and the legal authorities concerned to put the necessary means to bring out the truth,” Aram said.

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