Cheick Tiote played last for Chinese club, Beijing Enterprise before he lost his life to the cold hands of death in June 2017. The 30-year-old from Ivory Coast played as a midfielder for his home country and internationally. Tiote was a key member of Cote d’Ivoire team which ended a 23-year drought in winning the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
See: What You Never Knew About Ex-Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo’s Trial
Here is a profile of the fallen hero…
Cheick Ismael Tiote was born on June 21, 1986, in Yamoussoukro, the capital city of Cote d’Ivoire. Cheick had nine brothers and sisters. He started out playing barefoot street football at the age of 10; as a kid, he never owned a pair of boots until he was 15.
Growing up in Abidjan, Lagunes, Tiote gave up his studies at a young age, to face football. The late player is stated to have said in one of his interviews, that football was his childhood dream which he worked so hard to achieve. Tiote began his career with Ivorian minor league side FC Bibo.
During his short playing career, Tiote played for four clubs; Anderlecht, Twente, Newcastle United and Beijing Enterprises.
* Anderlecht: Cheick was first noticed in 2005 by Anderlecht scouts and he joined the team to play in Belgian Pro League. It is important to note that the midfielder made his UEFA Champions League debut in the club.
* Twente: In 2007/2008 the footballer was on loan in Roda JC. After that, Tiote transferred to Twente and picked up the gold medal of Eredivisie in 2009/2010. While at the club, Tiote established himself as an effective defensive midfielder, making 86 appearances for the Dutch side.
* Newcastle United: In 2010 the Ivorian footballer moved to Newcastle United. That same year, the Ivorian was selected in the national squad for the World Cup. The midfielder was signed for a fee of £3.5 million after he was granted a work permit. Tiote made over 150 appearances for the Toon before leaving for China in February this year.
* Beijing Enterprises: Tiote moved to China in February 2017 to join Bejing Enterprises, where he reunited with former Magpies team-mate Papiss Cisse.
Cheick Tiote first played for Ivory Coast in a friendly against Tunisia in August 2009. Subsequently, he was selected in Ivory Coast’s squad for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and given the squad number 9, where he played until the team lost out in the quarter-finals.
Following his international debut in 2009, Tiote was part and parcel of the team as he played key roles during their clashes with other rival countries. This includes the Les Elephants’ victory at the 2015 AFCON.
Tioté was a devout Muslim who observed fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
The footballer got married in the UK to a woman named Madah; with whom he had two children. The couple lived in the village of Ponteland in Northumberland and got married before his move to Newcastle.
Cheick Tiote also married another woman, Laeticia Doukrou, in the capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan. He also had a child with a mistress named Nkosiphile Mpofu.
Cheick Tiote died on June 5, 2017, in China during a training session with his club Beijing Enterprise. The midfielder had suffered a probable cardiac arrest during the training, leading to his death. The 30-year-old was immediately rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead around an hour later.
News of Tiote’s death was a huge shock which sent down chills on the spines of many. The Ivorian had played 17 times for the Chinese club before his death.
The news of Tiote’s demise was followed by loads of tributes from counterparts, friends, and well-wishers; nationally and internationally. Senegalese player, Demba Ba was amongst the first to pay tribute on social media, to the Ivorian. Soon afterward, many of his former Newcastle teammates followed suit.
The Ivorian was given a memorial service on June 13, 2017, in Beijing, China. The service was attended by his last club -Beijing Enterprises, teammates and other sympathizers. Cheick Tiote’s team-mates from past and present including Papiss Cisse who plays in China were all in attendance at the service.
Tiote’s body was flown back on June 15, to Cote d’Ivoire for a funeral.
There had been disputes over the location for the funeral of the late Newcastle player in Ivory Coast. The discord was between Tiote’s family and the Ivory Coast Football Federation over the location of his burial. Nevertheless, Tiote was given a military funeral in Abidjan on 18th June. The burial attended by his national teammates and politicians including prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
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