Football is inextricably linked to Nigerian society and Nigerians, old or young, women or men. It is a unifying factor, irrespective of ethnic, tribal, religious, and political differences.
When the British introduced football to Nigeria at the start of the 20th century, it was hard to imagine that football would become a key aspect of Nigerian culture with the all-pervasive spirit of the round leather game, almost turning into a religion like in Brazil.
The Super Eagles’ impressive performance in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations has further enhanced the football culture.
Notably, among the four teams remaining in the tournament, Nigeria is the only team that is undefeated and unbeaten.
Jose Peseiro’s team brushed aside Cameroon and Angola in the round of 16 and the quarter-final, respectively, to set up an exciting encounter with Hugo Broos South Africa in the semi-final.
The epic encounter turned out to be a herculean task for the Super Eagles, with 120 minutes unable to separate both teams in a high-octane game of football filled with edge-of-the-seat drama.
It was a roller coaster of emotions for Nigerian football fans watching the nerve-racking game. A disaster occurred in the 87th minute when VAR disallowed an off-field Victor Osimhen goal because Nigeria had previously fouled in their 18-yard box.
The VAR decision to upturn a goal that would have sealed Nigeria’s victory and passage into the final was reversed, and South Africa’s Teboho Mokoena equalized from the penalty spot.
That decision had an emotional and psychological impact on the Nigerian people as a whole.
A distressed fan, Anambra-born billionaire Chief Osondu Nwoye, slumped at the Stade Bouaké and was later pronounced dead in the hospital.
Nwoye, a major spare parts dealer and CEO of Group Auto Promotion Cote d‘Ivoire, who resides in Ivory Coast, according to a report, was shouting on top of his voice when Nigerian star striker Victor Osihmen scored the second goal, which was later canceled by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
It was alleged that the shock of seeing the goal disallowed and a penalty awarded against Nigeria was too much for him to bear for his fragile heart, leading to his collapse in the stadium.
It was also learned that three other football fans died of heart attacks: a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Deputy Bursar, Kwara State University, Malete; Ayuba Abdullahi; and a corps member serving in Adamawa State, simply identified as Samuel.
Ojougboh, an erstwhile member representing the Ika Federal Constituency of Delta State in the House of Representatives and former Executive Director of Projects on the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, reportedly slumped in his house in Abuja while watching the match.
Sources said the outspoken politician slumped when a penalty kick was awarded against Nigeria during the match, which gave the South Africans an equalizer as Nigeria had earlier taken the lead in the match.
He was said to have suffered a heart attack and was confirmed dead at a hospital he was rushed to.
The Super Eagles have mourned four Nigerians who died while watching their epic semi-final match with Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Cote d’Ivoire, declaring that they will lift the continental trophy in their honor and Nigeria.
The captain of the national soccer team, Ahmed Musa, disclosed this while leading a solemn session by the Super Eagles players and officials to mourn the deceased on Thursday.
Ahead of the final between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday, Persecondnews spoke to a medical practitioner, Dr. Ubong Nkanta, on Friday.
PSN: Is there any explanation for what happened to the four Nigerian fans who passed away on Wednesday?
Nkanta: It’s uncontrolled hypertension; the game was intense, which resulted in an adrenaline rush, which increases the blood supply to the heart. So the heart pumps at a higher rate; it overwhelms the heart, and the heart shuts down.
For some of them, it may be that the blood supply is cut off from the brain or there is a major arthritis of the heart; once these happen, it leads to cardiac arrest or cardiac infractions.
The symptoms of arthritis in the heart to watch out for include: chest pain or discomfort. a feeling of pressure or squeezing in your chest. shortness of breath.
Some of these fans might not be aware that they are hypertensive, so that is one of the causes of sudden death. So we always prescribe regular medical checkups, exercise, and avoid stressful or tense situations.
If you know the game will be tense, take a walk, but if your blood pressure is controlled, you have no issues. If you are over 40, you should be running tests every three or six months because hypertension sets in from that age, especially if there is a family history of hypertension