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Posted Friday, February 22, 2008
                      
Emmanuel Sanon, meritoriously pronounced reaffirmer of Haitian pride, after scoring in World Cup, dies, aged 56

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) €” Emmanuel Sanon, the only soccer player to score a World Cup goal for Haiti, has died. He was 56.

Sanon died of pancreatic cancer at his Orlando home Thursday after a long treatment, son Emmanuel Sanon Jr. said.

Known as "Manno," Sanon became a Haitian legend in 1974. He scored a go-ahead goal against Italy in his country's lone World Cup appearance, taking a beautiful lead pass, outrunning the defender and leaving stunned goalie Dino Zoff on the ground.

His kick snapped Zoff's record 1,142 minutes over two years without allowing a goal. But Italy came back, scored three straight goals and won the game.

"Imagine you went to a bar or restaurant, and you walked straight to Mike Tyson and slapped him on his face in front of everybody, and you got him mad," Sanon said years later to Tele Image, a New York-based TV program, in describing Italy's reaction.

In that same World Cup, Sanon also scored against Argentina before Haiti was eliminated with three losses.

The tall striker played for Belgium's Beerschot and briefly coached Haiti's national team in the 1990s.

Haitian Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis called for a moment of silence Friday to remember Sanon in the southern town of Jeremie, where thousands had gathered for the announcement of a new highway project.

"He did something very big in the history of Haitian sport," Alexis said.

Born in Port-au-Prince in 1951, Sanon was married with four children.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Associated Press

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