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Gadji Celi

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A love of soccer and a passion for music have been combined by pro soccer player and singer/songwriter Gadji Celi. A finalist in the Best Arrangement category of the 2000 KORA All-Africa Awards, Celi has continued to evolve as a songwriter. Although he built his reputation on songs about soccer teams participating in the annual African Cup competition, his songs have increasingly reflected on more romantic issues. Celi began his professional soccer career as a member of the Stella Club of Abidjan in 1983. When he wasn't attracting attention with his sharp playing, Celi wrote songs inspired by the sport. Remaining with the Stella Club for nine years, Celi left to assume the role of captain of the national team in 1992. A few months later, he led the team to an African Cup victory in Senegal. Word about Celi's songwriting skills continued to spread. Asked to write a song for the Asec Mimosas, he came up with "Et Dieu Crea l'Asec," his first hit. He continued the theme with such tunes as "Egypt 86," "Morocco 88," and "Algeria 90." ~ Craig Harris

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