In a deeply tragic turn of events, the footballing world mourns the untimely passing of Ghana’s Raphael Dwamena, who collapsed and died on the pitch while representing his club, FK Egnatia, in a match against KF Partizani in the Albanian Superliga.
The 28-year-old former Black Stars forward suffered a fatal heart attack during the game, sending shockwaves through the football community.
Dwamena, known for his promising talent and previous appearances with the Ghanaian national team, scored two goals in his debut and made a total of nine appearances.
His sudden demise highlights the devastating impact of heart issues on the lives of African footballers.
Here, we remember nine other African players who faced a similar fate.
Marc-Vivien Foé, Cameroon
Born on May 1, 1975, in Yaounde, Foé passed away while playing for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a FIFA Confederations Cup match against Colombia. Despite medics’ efforts to revive him for 45 minutes, he couldn’t be saved. At the time of his death, he was a Manchester City on loan from Olympique Lyonnais.
In honour of the former Cameroonian, an award has been named after Foé which is handed to the best African player playing in the French Ligue 1.
Cheick Tiote, Ivory Coast
The former Newcastle United midfielder died on the training pitch with his Chinese Super League club Beijing Enterprises Group at the age of 30, having suffered a cardiac arrest on June 5, 2017.
Uriah Asante, Ghana
The former Hearts of Oak player tragically collapsed during a training session with his club, Etoile du Sahel in Tunisia, succumbing to a reported cardiac arrest at the age of 24.
Moise Brou Apanga, Gabon
Apanga, a former defender for the Gabonese national team, tragically passed away at the age of 35 after collapsing during a training session with FC 105 Libreville. He made 33 appearances and scored a goal for the Panthers of Gabon.
Patrick Ekeng, Cameroon
Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Ekeng died while playing for Romanian club Dinamo București. He collapsed during a league game against Viitorul Constanța and, tragically, succumbed to a heart attack. His death came in 2016 at the age of 26.
Chaswe Nsofwa, Zambia
Nsofwa made his debut for the Zambia national team in 2000 and had 33 appearances and 9 goals to his name before his passing at the age of 28 in 2007. He collapsed during training while preparing for a league game with his club, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, and could not be revived.
David Faramola Oniya, Nigeria
The Nigerian footballer, who played for Malaysia Premier League club T-Team as a defender, tragically collapsed on the pitch during a friendly between his club and Kelantan in Malaysia, leading to his untimely demise on June 13, 2015.
Emmanuel Ogoli, Nigeria
The former Bayelsa United and Ocean Boys player, a left-back, collapsed on the pitch while playing for Ocean Boys on December 12, 2010, and later passed away.
Ben Idrissa Derme, Burkina Faso
He was a Burkinabe international footballer, who played as a centre-half but suffered a heart attack during the 2016-17 Coupe de France match, leading to his unfortunate passing on September 11, 2016.
These heart-wrenching incidents serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of regular medical check-ups and the urgent need to raise awareness about heart-related issues among athletes, not only in Africa but worldwide. The legacy of these players lives on, both for their contributions to the beautiful game and the tragic circumstances of their untimely departures.
The footballing world pays its respects to Raphael Dwamena and all those who lost their lives while pursuing their passion on the pitch. Their memories will forever be cherished, and their stories serve as a call to action for improved player safety in the sport.