Most of the football world is still reeling from the sudden and unexpected death of Cheick Tiote. The African footballer formerly played for Newcastle United before moving to China where he died while training on 5 June 2017.
Newcastle United fans who have painted the player with a beloved brush immediately set about trying to honor him by launching an online petition to get the club to retire the jersey number 24 worn by the former player.
Cheick Tiote suffered a cardiac arrest while on the field of play and as shocking as his death was, he is only one in a number of high-profile African footballers who have died while playing football and were later discovered to have suffered a form of cardiac arrest.
Here are eight African footballers who have died while playing the game they loved;
Samuel Okwaraji is the oldest player featured on the list and was, therefore, the first major on-field death of an African footballer. He died 12 August 1989 while playing for the Super Eagles in a World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos.
After his death, an autopsy revealed that the 25-year-old qualified lawyer, who had a Masters in international law from the University of Rome, had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure. He collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th minute and left Africa reeling.
Marc-Vivien Foe was a Cameroon midfielder who died in Lyon, France, in 2003 when he fell in the centre circle 15 minutes from the end of Cameroon’s Confederations Cup semi-final with Colombia. For 45 minutes, medics attempted to restart his heart before finally declaring him dead.
Endurance Idahor died on 6 March 2010. The Nigerian was playing for Sudanese club Al-Merreikh when he collapsed during a league game and later died on his way to the hospital.
Amir Angwe, was playing for Julius Berger FC of Lagos, when he, unfortunately, became the first casualty in the Nigerian domestic league to die on field after he collapsed in a match involving his team at the Onikan Stadium on October 29, 1995.
Hedi Berkhissa a Tunisian centerback died on January 4, 1997, in a friendly match between Espérance and French side Olympique Lyon at Stade Chedli Zouiten, after suffering a heart attack on the field in the last minutes of the game.
Chaswe Nsofwa, a former Zambia international player, collapsed and died of heart failure during a training session with his Israeli club side, Hapoel Beersheba on 29 August 2007.
Patrick Claude Ekeng Ekeng died in Romania, after collapsing in a match for Dinamo București on 6 May 2016. He had been a professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder and had two international caps for his country’s national team.
Moise Brou Apanga
Moïse Brou Apanga a Côte d’Ivoire born Gabonese football defender, played for the Gabonese national team. He died in April 2017 after suffering a heart attack while training with his club side FC 105 Libreville.
Other African footballers lost to these unfortunate heart cases include; Victor Omogbehin, Orobosan Adun, and John Ikoroma. One bright light in all this sad stories is that of Bolton player, Fabrice Muamba. The DR Congo-born player suffered a heart attack while playing at the London club’s White Hart Lane stadium in 2012 but survived due to the ministrations of a quick thinking doctor in the crowd.