Tiote's funeral held in Ivory Coast

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Pallbearers carry the coffin of Ivorian football star Cheick Tiote during his funeral ceremony in Abidjan.

The funeral of Ivorian star Cheick Tiote was held in Abidjan on Sunday following his sudden death in China earlier this month.

Tiote died aged 30 after collapsing during training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises.

The former Newcastle United midfielder was honoured with a military funeral with a host of dignitaries and players in attendance.

His body was flown back home to Ivory Coast from China earlier this week.

Hundreds of people, including former Elephants coach Herve Renard, were at Abidjan’s international airport to receive Tiote’s body on Thursday.

Cheick Tiote won more than 50 caps for his country and was part of the Ivory Coast squad that won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

A number of his former team-mates attended the funeral, including Germany-based striker Salomon Kalou who said he, like so many others, was left devastated by the news of his death.

“He’s someone I respected as a human being but also as a football player,” Kalou told BBC Sport.

“I played six years with him in the national team and I played against him with Chelsea when he was at Newcastle, so we had a good relationship and I couldn’t miss this funeral for anything in the world.

“It’s unreal. It looks like a dream right now. We’re all here to show him love and to show him he’s always going to be in our hearts,” Kalou added.

Mourners pay tribute to Cheick Tiote at his funeral in Abidjan on Sunday

England-based striker Wilfried Bony recalled how Tiote had been a mentor figure for him when he first started playing for the Elephants.

“From the beginning when I joined the team in 2010, he was one of the first players who came and talked to me about how to be here, my attitude, how to train, how I need to react with the other players.

“And Tiote was a player who loved to win who loved to be first, he never wanted to lose. He wanted always to be the best,” said Bony.

Ivorian Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was joined by Ivorian Sports Minister Albert Amichia and President of the Ivorian football federation Augustin Sidy Diallo at the funeral in Abidjan as the country paid its last respects to its former international midfielder.



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