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In memory of Klas Ingesson. Photo: Peter Elvemo.Sveriges Radio
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Fans remember Klas Ingesson. Photo: Peter Elvemo/Sveriges Radio
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Borås Arena where Klas Ingesson was manager, opened its gates to fans to pay their respects. Photo: Peter Elvemo/Sveriges Radio

Tributes pour in for World Cup hero Klas Ingesson

"He said that for me cancer makes you appreciate the small things in life"
12 min

Klas Ingesson's death from cancer at the age of 46 has not just saddened football fans but the Swedish public at large.  

One of the heroes of Sweden's bronze winning football team from World Cup 1994, midfielder Klas Ingesson was remembered fondly it seems by all who knew him and the thousands who felt like they knew him.

As the gates of Elfsborg's Borås Arena, where he managed until he was too unwell to continue, were opened up to the public to pay their respects, the editor-in-chief of Sweden's biggest selling football magazine Offside, Anders Bengtsson, tells Radio Sweden about the qualities of the man.

"We knew it was a matter of days but it is still came as a shock. His teammates say that he was the friend that they could always talk to when they had problems and everyone I have ever talked to said he was such a loveable guy." 

Speaking of why the "bronze heroes" of 94 strike such an emotional chord with the public, Anders Bengtsson tells Radio Sweden that Swedish society at that time plays a part.

"At the time we had various racist incidents and the 94 team had black players such as Martin Dahlin and Henrik Larsson and I think that we liked it as Swedes and it was something that Sweden needed at that time and also the World Cup in 1994 was the first really commercialised World Cup and for a little team from a small country to make such an impact, it was something big."

In 2011 after his cancer had returned, Klas Ingesson told Anders Bengtsson that it changed his outlook on life.

"He told me that he now appreciated all the small things in life which he cherished every day, such as just sitting in the forest and enjoying the silence. But I also think he carried some weight on his shoulders that he was expected to be always the strong guy and I think Klas did his best as always."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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