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Cameroon's Italia 90 captain Stephen Tataw dies aged 57

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16:11 31 Jul 2020

Former Cameroon captain Stephen Tataw has died at the age of 57. 

Tataw captained the Indomitable Lions at both the 1990 World Cup in Italy, and the 1994 finals in the United States.

A cause of death has not been released, but family sources say he had been "battling illness" in recent months.

The President of the Cameroon Football Federation, Seidou Mbombo Njoya has described Tataw as a “great sportsman and leader of men”.

He's the third member of that famous Italia '90 squad to have died in recent years.

His defensive partner in Italy - Benjamin Massing - passed away at the age of just 55 in December of 2017.

While former midfielder Louis-Paul M'Fédé was just 52 when he died of a lung infection in 2013.

Tataw started every one of Cameroon's games as they made it all the way to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990.

Along the way they upset the world champions Argentina in a bruising opening match. They beat Romania and Colombia (after extra-time) before making England sweat in Naples.

Things weren't so joyous four years later in the USA.

An opening 2-2 draw with eventual semi-finalists Sweden was followed by heavy defeats to Brazil and Russia.

He would score three times in an international career spanning 63 games. He was also part of the Africa Cup of Nations-winning squad of 1988.

Tataw played most of his club football in his native Cameroon for Tonnerre Yaounde and Olympic Mvolyé.

It was at the latter where he was immortalised in Simon Kuper's excellent book, Football Against The Enemy.

Tataw was part of the Mvolyé that reached the 1992 Cameroonian Cup final - quite a feat for a second tier side.

Kuper wrote, "They [Mvolyé] had lost the pre-match skirmishes: a couple of days before the final, four armed men had dragged Tataw from his car and beaten him up"

Mvolyé's went on to beat Diamant Yaoundé 1-0, courtesy of a penalty won by Tataw and scored by international teammate Bertin Ebwellé.

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Africa Cup Of Nations Benjamin Massing Cameroon Italia 90 Simon Kuper Stephen Tataw USA 94 World Cup

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