Togo striker Kossi Koudagba dies after short illness

Togo striker Kossi Edem Koudagba has died at the age of 24.

The forward, who represented the West Africans at the WAFU Cup of Nations in Senegal in October 2019, passed away following a short illness, his club side, reigning Togolese champions ASC Kara, announced on Thursday.

"It is with great pain that the executive board of ASCK announce the passing of our player, Edem Kossi Koudagba," a statement posted on the club's Facebook page said.

"Let us all pray for his soul's rest, and may the Almighty welcome him to his home."

Koudagba had been sick with an unconfirmed illness before his death, and he had returned to his family home in Davie, 30 kilometres north of the capital, Lome.

The striker, who was the top scorer and Togolese champion in 2018, represented Togo in their successful African Nations Championship qualifying campaign, featuring in their third-round qualifier against Nigeria as the Sparrow Hawks booked their place at the tournament.

Ultimately, Koudagba and his teammates weren't able to take part in the competition -- originally planned to kick off on April 4 in Cameroon -- which was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He had also been named in the senior Togo national side by coach Claude Le Roy during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.

Koudagba was part of the Togo team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations, and he scored the opening goal in their victory over Nigeria in the first round before falling to Ivory Coast on penalties in their last eight match-up.

The forward, who could also play on the left flank, was known for his build-up work and excellent goal instinct, which was honed at ASCK following his move from second-tier Espoir Tsevie.

The Togolese Football Federation opted to bring the nation's top two leagues to a premature end on May 26, with football having been suspended since March 17 due to the threat of coronavirus.

Koudagba's ASC Kara were named Togolese champions by virtue of being top of the table after the 20th matchday, and are set to represent the West African nation in the 2020-21 CAF Champions League.