Tension as CAF doctor dies in Nigeria-Ghana World Cup playoff

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Tension and uncertainties have trailed the death of Zambian doctor Joseph Kabungo following the Super Eagles’ draw against the Black Stars of Ghana at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.

Mr Kabungo was on official duty in Nigeria on behalf of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Different circumstances surrounding his death have been reported. One report said he died during the stampede just before the game started.

Another report stated that he was brutally beaten by angry fans who invaded the pitch at the end of the game.

It was also reported that the CAF doctor died of heart failure, collapsing close to the Ghanaian medical team’s facility and was given CPR by Ghanaian and Nigerian medics.

“Kabungo had a cardiac arrest when walking towards the team dressing rooms and collapsed on the floor,” said the report sent to CAF by the Game Control Department. “Both team doctors and other medical personnel administered CPR on him, but after a while, he was taken to hospital, and that’s when the terrible news was confirmed.”

The Zambian FA has also released a statement urging calm and asking everyone to wait for the official reports from CAF and FIFA.

“The Football Association of Zambia joins the rest of the football family in mourning the late Dr Joseph Kabungo,” said the Zambian FA. “Dr Kabungo, a CAF/FIFA medical officer, was on duty in Abuja for the second leg, final qualifying match between Nigeria and Ghana that ended 1-1.”

It added, “Today (Wednesday), we mourn the passing of our Caf/Fifa medical officer Dr Joseph Kabungo who was on duty as a Doping officer in Tuesday’s match involving Nigeria and Ghana, and we extend our sincere condolences to Dr Kabungo’s family and the football family at large.”

It noted that it was “too early to dwell into the nitty-gritty of the cause of his death but will wait for the full report from Caf and Fifa on what exactly transpired.”

The deceased was regarded as a dedicated and “widely loved member of our football community.”

He was part of the 2012 Africa Cup-winning team.

“Dr Kabungo was a permanent fixture at football events, including the Fifa Arab Cup in Qatar, which is a precursor for the 2022 World Cup.

He was also part of the medical team during Cameroon 2021 (played in 2022) Africa Cup of Nations,” added the statement. “He was one of the outstanding Zambian football personalities that flew the Zambian flag at global football events. We all have to learn from his example of excellence and celebrate his legacy by breeding more hard-working football Zambian administrators.”