Salif Keïta (Malian footballer)

Salif Keïta Traoré (born 8 December 1946), known as Keita, is a Malian retired footballer who played as a striker.

Salif Keïta
Salif Keita (1946).jpg
Keita with Saint-Étienne in 1968
Personal information
Full name Salif Keita Traoré
Date of birth (1946-12-08) 8 December 1946 (age 75)
Place of birth Bamako, Mali
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Position(s) Striker
Youth career
1960–1963 Stade Malien
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1963–1965 Real Bamako 21 (8)
1965–1966 Stade Malien 24 (12)
1966–1967 Real Bamako 26 (15)
1967–1972 Saint-Étienne 149 (125)
1972–1973 Marseille 18 (10)
1973–1976 Valencia 74 (23)
1976–1979 Sporting CP 63 (32)
1979–1980 New England Tea Men 39 (17)
Total 414 (242)
National team
1963–1972 Mali 28 (13)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Club careerEdit

Keita was born in Bamako, playing in his country for AS Real Bamako and Stade Malien. With the former, which he represented in two different spells, he was always crowned Première Division champion.

In 1967, 20-year-old Keita left for France to join AS Saint-Étienne, where he won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, including the double in 1968 and 1970. In his last two seasons with Les Verts combined, he scored an astonishing 71 league goals – 42 alone in the 1970–71 campaign – but the team failed to win any silverware; in 1970, he was voted African Footballer of the Year.[1]

Keita joined fellow league side Olympique de Marseille in the 1972 summer. After the club tried to force him to assume French nationality he opposed, leaving in the ensuing off-season for Valencia CF in Spain.

Spanish newspapers were accused of racism when one headline read El Valencia va a por alemanes y vuelve con un negro ("Valencia goes out to buy Germans and comes back with a black man"), but he was always loved during his spell at the club, netting in his debut with the Che, a 2–1 La Liga home win against Real Oviedo,[2] and being eventually nicknamed La perla negra de Malí (The black pearl of Mali); he complained, however, that he was constantly played out of position.[3]

In 1976, after three years with Valencia, Keita signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal, where he replaced another legendary goalscorer, Héctor Yazalde. In two of his three seasons with the Lisbon side he scored in double digits, winning one domestic cup. He retired at the age of 34, after a couple of years with the New England Tea Men in the United States.

International careerEdit

In 1963, at the age of only 16, Keita was selected to play for Mali. He was part of the squad that appeared at the 1972 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, helping the national team finish second.

In June 2005, Keita was elected president of the Malian Football Federation for a period of four years.[4] Late into the following year, he was selected by the Confederation of African Football as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Keita's nephew, Seydou Keita, was also a footballer. He also played some years in France, and later represented, with great team and individual success, FC Barcelona.[6] Mohamed Sissoko, who played namely for Valencia, Liverpool and Juventus FC, was also his nephew; both played similar roles as central midfielders; another nephew, Sidi Yaya Keita, was also a footballer and a midfielder, who played most of his career in France with RC Lens.[7]

Guinean film director Cheik Doukouré used the life of Keita as a starting point for his 1994 work Le Ballon d'or.[8] In 1994, he created the first training center for professional football players in Mali, which bore his name.

From 2007, Keita acted as delegated minister of the Prime Minister of Mali.[9]


Real Bamako

Stade Malien


Sporting CP





  1. ^ "Kanoute wins top African accolade". BBC Sport. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  2. ^ "2–1: Dos geniales goles de Keita dieron el triunfo al Valencia" [2–1: Two wonder goals by Keita gave Valencia win]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 2 September 1973. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  3. ^ "'La perla negra de Mali' no cuajó en el Valencia" ['The black pearl from Mali' did not make it in Valencia]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 25 September 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  4. ^ Raphael Ebanga-Mballa La Part Du Lion: L'Encyclopedie de L'Histoire Du Football Du Cameroun – 2009 – Page 177 "Salif Keïta a été élu en juin 2005, président de la Fédération malienne de football (FEMAFOOT) pour un mandat de 4 ans."
  5. ^ Οι 200 κορυφαίοι Αφρικανοί [The 200 Top Africans] (in Greek). Sport 24. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Seydou Keita se ha forjado un nombre" [Seydou Keita has made a name for himself] (in Spanish). FIFA. 30 November 2007. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Keita, un apellido de largo recorrido" [Keita, a long-distance surname]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 25 May 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  8. ^ Le Ballon d'or; at Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ POLITIQUE AFRICAINE N-104. Partis politiques d'Afrique – Retours 2007 – Page 74 "... du leader étudiant et journaliste Tiébélé Dramé (ministre des Affaires étrangères) ou encore du footballeur Salif Keïta (ministre délégué auprès du Premier ministre). C'est en grande partie la forme consensuelle privilégiée au cours de cette ..."

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