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

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