by Isi Esene
In a tragic outing, a Nigerian football player based in Romania, Henry Chinonso Ihelewere, today slumped and died while playing in a friendly match between second division side CS Delta Tulcea and FC Balotesti.
Local television stations say he likely died of cardiac arrest. The 21-yeaar-old player died just 15 minutes after coming in as a second half substitute. He reportedly fell without any other player coming in contact with him.
In his reaction to the sad incident, Ihelewere’s coach, Cristian Dulca said, “What can I say? We’re all shocked. It’s a tragic day for Romanian football.
“I trained him for a year and a half and I can tell you he was a real example in training. He could’ve become a very good player.”
The player was rushed to the hospital after he slumped but never regained consciousness.
He joined the Romanian league five years ago when he started playing for a club called Farul Constanta.
Other African players who have suffered a similar fate are Nigeria’s Samuel Okwaraji, who died while playing a qualifying match against Angola in Lagos; Marc-Vivien Foe, the Cameroonian who also died during an international match in France, and Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba who remarkably survived after being effectively dead for 78 minutes.