Emmanuel Ogoli, Ocean Boys of Yenegoa's left back yesterday joined the list of Nigerian players who died playing the round leather game on the pitch.
The former Bayelsa United player slumped and died after playing just 39 minutes against visiting Niger Tornadoes at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenegoa.
According to club Media Officer Eddy Ehis the defender was rushed into an ambulance parked inside the stadium, after slumping but he died on the way to hospital for medical assistance.
“It is a very sad news for us. Nobody had any premonition that such a thing will happen. As I am talking to you now, I just left the mortuary where we went to deposit his corpse,” observed a tearful journalist turned Ocean Boys' spokesman.
He confirmed that club emmisary have been sent to the late player’s family in Delta State while an autopsy is expected to come in on Tuesday to ascertain the exact cause of his death.
Though Ocean Boys defeated Niger Tornadoes by two-nil in Yenagoa, when the information of Ogoli's death filtered into the stadium, some of the players and officials of the club broke down in tears. The news of Ogoli's death was broken at the end of the game to the players and officials of Ocean Boys. It is the first victory of the 2006 Nigerian champions and it is left tainted with Ogoli's death.
On November 23, SuperSport.com had reported that Ogoli recovered from an injury after he was hurt in a collision with Obinna Nwokolo of Plateau United on November 14.
But Ogoli recovered in time to face Gombe United in a Week 3 game. The deceased made an off-season switch from former champions, Bayelsa United, to Ocean Boys this season.
Ogoli is not the first Nigerian footballer to die on the field. On March 6 this year, the cold hands of death snatched away former Dolphin player Endurance Idahor while starring for his Sudanese club, El Merriekh as a 25-year old player.
Sam Okwaraji had similarly died on August 12, 1989 while playing a World Cup qualifier for the Super Eagles against Angola at the National Stadium in Lagos. An autopsy revealed that the 24-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.
Former BCC Lions of Gboko star Amir Angwe also collapsed and died of heart attack while playing for then Julius Berger F.C of Lagos at the Onikan Stadium on 29 October 1995.
John Ikoroma collapsed on the pitch and later died in hospital in February 2000. He was just 17 years old.
Warri Wolves Orobosan Adun also died on May 26, 2009 before an away match with Enugu Rangers. The goalkeeper was assaulted by thugs suspected to be fans of the Enugu team. He slumped and died 3 days later from internal haemorrhage, during a training session.