Premium Times (Abuja)

4 February 2013

Nigeria/Cote d'Ivoire: Soccer Fan Dies While Watching Super Eagles, Elephants Match

The tension soaked quarter-final match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Elephants of Cote d' Ivoire on Sunday claimed the life a football fan in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.

A 40-year-old soccer fan suddenly slumped as he watched the match with other spectators at the Promise Viewing Centre in Oke-Sokori area of the town.

The victim was identified as Moshood Owolabi. He worked as an Engineer with the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, Federal Ministry of Works in Abeokuta.

He was said to have been immediately rushed to a nearby clinic, Success Medical Clinic, where he was given first aid before being referred to another hospital, First Alpha.

A witness traced the death to a missed shot from Victor Moses which was stopped by an Ivorian defender.

Mr. Owolabi gave up the ghost when he was being rushed to First Alpha Hospital located in Kuforiji Olubi area of the town.

The death

Speaking on the development, the Medical Director of Success Medical Clinic, Odede Kolawole, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Owolabi was brought in dead to the clinic and that all efforts to revive him failed.

The Medical Director explained that the incident was as a result of excessive intake of carbon dioxide resulting to what he called anoxia (a total depletion in the level of oxygen).

"Immediately the he was brought, he was brought in dead. From what I learnt, I was told by a close friend that he had a fatal accident about two months ago and he was treated and managed.

"It is supposed to be a heart attack, because the way I saw him, he looked weak. He did not look agile and healthy, he looked like someone who had been sick for a very long period of time. He looked like someone who is managing his life and now facing a lot of crowd with shortage of oxygen in that area," the doctor said.

Viewing Centres are a common feature in Nigeria where people gather after paying a token, in a usually poorly ventilated room, to watch football matches and other programs. They have become more popular during the African Cup of Nations as none of the local television stations are televising the matches of the competition. Only Nigerians with access to satellite TV channel, Supersports, can view the matches. Millions who cannot afford the satellite TV, like Mr. Owolabi, gather at viewing centres to watch the games.

The doctor was not available

In his own account, the deceased's neighbour, who was also at the viewing center when the incident happened, Taiwo Adebayo, said the deceased suffered from a possible cardiac arrest adding that he started foaming when he fell on ground.

He, however, disagreed with the Medial Director of Success Medical Clinic insisting that Mr. Owolabi, was immediately rescued and taken to the clinic alive. He said the doctor was not available on getting to the hospital.

He said the victim later died on the way to another hospital where he was referred.

"We were together when the match started, when Moses played a shot on target and it was deflected off by another opposing player, it was that time that he fell on someone's laps as if he suffered from cardiac arrest and he started foaming.

"I grabbed him immediately and rushed him to the hospital. When we got to Success Hospital, the doctor was not available and the nurses tried giving him first aid when the doctor was contacted, then he was still breathing," he said.

"When the doctor came, he checked him and immediately referred him to another hospital (First Alpha), on the way going, the gear of the vehicle got damaged and we secured a taxi after some minutes'.

"When we got the hospital, the doctor confirmed him dead. We went to his father at Kugba area in Abeokuta and the man gave a go ahead for his burial," the neighbour added.

Lamenting the loss, Mr. Adebayo described the deceased as a very jovial person who was always noticed wherever he went.

Shocked wife

The deceased's widow, Tawakalitu Owolabi, was still in shock when PREMIUM TIMES visited her at the family's flat in Abeokuta.

The bereaved described the incident as a dream adding that her late husband was wandering around the area with a close friend few hours before the match started.

"He was involved in an accident about two months ago, the accident was fatal and he survived it, but this incident was like a dream but we give thanks to Almighty Allah," she said.

The widow said with the demise of her husband, she would have to cater for her two children and aged parents-in-law alone.

The deceased has since been buried according to Islamic rites.

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