Oceania football has lost one of its greatest ever footballers, following the passing of New Caledonia’s Jacques Zimako this week aged 69.
The first footballer of Kanak origin to represent France, Lifou-born Zimako played 13 times for the French national team, scoring two goals.
Among his achievements at club level, which included representing France’s most successful first division club AS Saint-Étienne, along with time spent at Bastia and Sochaux, he won a Ligue 1 title in 1980-81 with Saint-Étienne.
The man nicknamed ‘Zigzag’, due to his ability to evade defenders, also represented New Caledonia during the 1987 Pacific Games, helping them to a gold medal after they beat Tahiti 1-0 in the final.
Among his teammates that day was current President of Federation Caledonienne de Football, Gilles Tavergeux.
Zimako would later coach New Caledonia in 1995.
On behalf of the Oceania Football Confederation, our sincere thoughts and condolences go out to Jacques’ friends and family, and the wider football community in New Caledonia and France.