Sudan Mourns Legendary Footballer Amin Zaki

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - In a solemn procession, led by Chairman of the Transitional Military Council, Lt. General Abdelfattah Alburhan, Sudanese on Saturday bade farewell to Footballer Amin Zaki at a massive funeral in the Hillat Hamad burial ground in Khartoum North here.

Zaki, a former captain of the National Team of Sudan and also former captain of the First Division Alhilal Club of Omdurman, died on Friday (aged 78) while on medical treatment in Cairo, Egypt.

The late footballer had in 1970 led his country's national team to win the African Cup of Nations for the first and last time in its history, also winning the title of the best African defender during that tournament.

Zaki was coach trainer in the African football governing body the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

"Captain Amin Zaki is the star of all stars, a coach of coaches and a guiding teacher of generations of pupils and his death is indeed a great loss to Sudan," coach and football analyst Aljaili Abdelkhair told Sudanow in an eulogy.

Captain Zaki was born in Tuti Island here in 1941. He had graduated from the Bakht Erruda Teacher Training Institute and worked as an intermediate school teacher and headmaster for some time. Then he moved to the national army as head of its social and education services branch. He retired from army service at the rank of colonel in 1989.

He was known for his wide knowledge and solid patriotism.

He had started his football career as an elementary school pupil and was fond of watching football matches to gain experience as a young boy. As a secondary school boy he shone as a good player. This had prompted the Tuti club to put him on its minors list in 1956 and then he joined the club's senior team in 1957. Then in 1958 he signed for the first division Alhilal Club.

He had attended training courses in England, Kenya, Mauritius, Egypt and Tunisia and taught at training courses in Zambia, Swaziland, Kenya and Tanzania. Then he became CAF coaches' trainer in 1993.

In a match with the Brazilian Vasco da Gama team in Khartoum, 1963

Zaki has also served as football critic and commentator in the local press and radio and TV stations. He was known for his amiable personality and good humor. That had earned him a lot of public love. He was so humble that he kept driving his aging Peugeot limousine, regardless of his stardom and his prestigious position as CAF coach. He was also a good musician and singer.

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