Professional football as a competitive sport has had its unfair share of tragedies over the years. Apart from tragedies on the field of play, spectators have not been spared also.
Africa’s darkest day in soccer, perhaps remains the plane crash of April 27, 1993, when 18 members of the Zambian national team and 12 technical and crew members perished when their plane plunged into the sea off the coast of Gabon.
Tragedy cuts across continents, and that fact was confirmed during a League match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirate. A stampede at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg resulted in the deaths of 43 people, the worst disaster in South Africa’s sporting history.
Africa again witnessed another sporting tragedy when a local League match between Lupopo and TP Mazembe on the 30th of April 2001, led to the death of 14 people during a stampede following crowd trouble at a major league match at city of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Nigerian sporting family witnessed one of the most horrific football tragedies on the 23rd of December 2008, when nine female amateur footballers and two coaches were burnt to death in an auto crash on their way from Jos, Plateau state.
The tears of sorrow had hardly dried up, when 15 members of an amateur team, F.C Jimeta from Adamawa state, Nigeria, died in another auto crash on the 26th of January 2009.
Twelve of the dead were players, while the remaining three were trainers.
Severe heat and overcrowding resulted in the death of 4 football fans at a Ghanaian League match between Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oaks in Kumasi on Sunday 8th February, 2009.
On the 21st of February 2009, 13 Football supporters of Nigeria Premier League side Ocean Boys F.C of Yenegoa were killed by persons suspected to be cultist, on their way to attending a premier league match involving their team and Bayelsa United at the Ughelli Township Stadium in Delta State, Nigeria.
Tragedy struck at the Stade Felix Houphout-Boigny stadium in Abidjan, when Cote d’ivoire played host to Malawi, as 22 football fans were crushed to death when a fence collapsed as they tried to gain entry into the already jammed packed stadium, during a 2010 World Cup Qualifier.
Footballers are not also spared of these tragedies, which oftentimes occur either on or off the field of play.
Below is a list of African footballers who have died on the field of play.
- Samuel Okwaraji(Nigeria)- died of heart attack on August 12, 1989
- Amir Angwe(Nigeria)- died of heart attack on October 29, 1995
- George Iginewari(Nigeria)- died of gunshot wound in 1995
- Tunde Charity(Nigeria)- died of head injury in 1997
- Emmanuel Nwanegbo(Nigeria)- died of heart failure on August 30, 1997
- Shamo Quaye(Ghana)- died while training with team on November 30, 1997
- John Ikoroma(Nigeria)- died of heart attack on February 2000
- Charles Esheko(Nigeria)- died of cardiac arrest on July 14, 2001
- Marc-Vivien Fo(Cameroon)- died of heart attack on June 26, 2003
- Sam Okoye(Nigeria)- died after a brief illness on August 2005
- Chaswe Nsofwa(Zambia)- died of heart failure on August 29, 2007
- Guy Tchingoma(Congo DR)- died of heart related ailment on February 9, 2009
- George Katete(Congo DR)- died of heart attack on March 5th 2009
- Orobosa Adun(Nigeria)- slumped and died on May 26, 2009
- Endurance Idahor(Nigeria)- died of attack on March 13, 2010
I am happy about the current form of my gunners. But I hope they just take a bit of precaution at the moment. We have not really lost since the beginning of the new year and there are indications that we have just an opportunity to get our hands on the first major trophy since the last five years. But Arsene Wenger’s hope of running for the four possible titles is not just so real.
Considering that the boys are just coming of age and there are likely to be injuries and fatigue it is very good that he show concerns about this. Playing the boys three times a week would wear them off. Just recently Samir Nasri who happens to be the most promising this season is suffering from hamstring injuries. Even if he believes that this is the best gunners in so many years, caution has to be taken.
Arsenal remain in the Champions League where there is little hope of any success since they will be playing the best team in Europe, I will not try to be so optimistic about our chances like we had it during the 2007/08 season where we beat the best then, that is, AC Milan. We knew the consequence of winning that game. We lost our lead in the premiership and we were knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United before that remarkable win.
We went ahead and lost in the quarter-final to Liverpool who know how to gamble with matches sacrificing the premiership trophy for the Champions league. Our realistic chances this season are the Carling Cup and the Premiership. As we trail behind Man. Utd by five (5) points, it will do us good if we just play Barcelona with the mind that we have lost (though we can give them a good fight), and hope that in the home and away games between Man. Utd and Chelsea they (Man.Utd) can drop six points and hopefully we win our return leg against them.
I still know that Alex Ferguson will not like to repeat the same mistake as last season. We better play with serious caution as there are likely to be more injuries and little recovery time. We still have 14 games as at the time of writing this report and our attack force is about the best in the premiership and we can believe that our boys will always be used to winning and the winning spirit will continue to the end of the season. I believe Arsene as a great and experience coach will have some of his advisers telling him the same or similar news!
Gunners 4 Life.
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