Former Indomitable Lions captain Stephen Tataw dies at 57
Former Cameroon captain Stephen Tataw. /CAF

Former Cameroon captain Stephen Tataw. /CAF

Former Cameroon captain Stephen Tataw died in Yaounde on Friday following a“protracted illness”, the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) announced.

The 57-year-old was a staff at the Technical Directorate of FECAFOOT at the time of his death.

Tataw, who played as a right-back, featured for Cameroonian sides Tonnere Yaounde and Olympic Mvolyé between 1988 and 1994. He also made history by becoming the first African footballer to play for a professional Japanese club when he featured for Tosu Futures.

Tataw captained Cameroon in two World Cups in 1990 in Italy and in 1994 in the United States. Tataw led Cameroon in their incredible run to the quarterfinals. It was the first time an African nation had reached the quarterfinals at the World Cup and is the joint best performance by an African nation at the tournament, along with Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.

Tataw also won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1988 in Morocco, the Indomitable Lions’ second championship win of that decade.

Members of Cameroon's football fraternity took to social media to express their sadness at the passing of Tataw, who is regarded as one of the West African nation's greatest footballers.

"It was with sad emotions that I learned the death of former Indomitable Lions Captain Stephen Tataw today. I keep the memory of a great footballer and a remarkable leader. All my condolences to his family and loved ones,”FECAFOOT president Seidou Mbombo Njoya tweeted.

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, who is also the nation's most capped player, paid tribute to Tataw describing him as an“emblematic captain”who greatly touched his life.

"He was modest and very present in the field of play and when I became captain I think I had the same spirit. He gave reason to spectators to want to watch matches. He was reserved yet very efficient. This is a major loss,”the former Indomitable Lions captain said.

(With input from Confederation of African Football)