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Like Okwaraji; A list of Players who have collapsed on the pitch



Frantic, but fruitless efforts being made to revive Endurance Idahor


Like Nigeria’s midfielder, Samuel Okwaraji who collapsed and died on the pitch on a 12 day date in August 1989, another tragedy was averted on another 12 day date in June 2021 in the Euro 2020 football championship when Denmark’s Christian Eriksen collapsed in a match with Finland.

Uefa said Eriksen, who was given CPR by medics on the pitch, was transferred to hospital where the 29-year-old was stabilised, with officials saying he was conscious.

Following is a list of players who have collapsed on the pitch during a match.

Samuel Okwaraji – Nigeria


The Nigerian midfielder collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th minute of a World Cup qualification match against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12 August 1989.

David Omofeye aka ‘Idi’ – Nigeria

Daily Times account of death and burial of David Omofeye in 1954.

The Nigerian striker who just missed the cut in the selection of the first national team in 1949 and player of the ‘Old Reliables’ Railway football club of Lagos, slumped and died at the present day Mobolaji Arena, Onikan Lagos during a 6 May 1954 first division match of Railway and Marine. He is the first recorded death on a Nigerian pitch.

Amir Angwe – Nigeria


Efforts to revive Angwe on the field failed.

Playing for Julius Berger against Maxaquine of Mozambique in the African Winners Cup, The Benue State born footballer slumped and died on the turf of Onikan Stadium on 29 October 1995.

Tunde Charity Ikhidero – Nigeria

The member of the 1989 set of Nigerian Flying Eagles died in the hospital following head injury sustained in a league match involving his club, Insurance and Niger Tornadoes in Benin on September 6, 1997.

Endurance Idahor – Nigeria


The former Julius Berger and Dolphin striker, playing for Al Merreikh of Sudan, collapsed and died in Omdurman while playing against Amal Atbara on 6 March 2010.

Fabrice Muamba -England

The Bolton Wanderers midfielder collapsed on the pitch in an FA Cup match in 2012 due to a cardiac arrest and was technically “dead” for 78 minutes before he was revived. The former England under-21 midfielder had to retire soon after at the age of 24.

Bafetimbi Gomis -France

The French striker has collapsed several times on the pitch due to a medical condition which causes him to faint. He has collapsed playing for Swansea City, Galatasaray and Al-Hilal.


Marc-Vivien Foe -Cameroon

The Cameroon midfielder collapsed during a Confederations Cup match in 2003. Medical staff attempted to resuscitate the 28-year-old on the pitch before taking him off on a stretcher.

However, they failed in their attempts to restart his heart and he was pronounced dead.

Antonio Puerta -Spain

The Sevilla midfielder collapsed while jogging back in the first game of the 2007-08 La Liga season against Getafe and, though he walked off the pitch after being helped by medical staff, he collapsed again in the dressing room.


Puerta, a Spain international, was rushed to hospital, where he died three days later of “multiple organ failure” due to a cardiac arrest at the age of 22.

Cheick Tiote – Cote d’Ivoire

Four months after leaving Newcastle United, the midfielder fainted during a training session with Chinese club Beijing Enterprises. The 30-year-old Ivorian died in hospital.

Miklos Feher -Hungary

The Hungary striker was playing for Portuguese side Benfica against Vitoria Guimaraes in January 2004 when he keeled over in pain before falling backwards onto the pitch after a heart attack.


Medics attempted to resuscitate the unconscious 24-year-old before he was taken off on a stretcher and rushed to hospital. Doctors tried to revive him for nearly 90 minutes before he was pronounced dead.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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