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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nigerian footballer dies from heart attack suffered on pitch

Nigerian footballer dies from heart attack suffered on pitch

A 25-YEAR-OLD Nigerian footballer died Saturday evening after collapsing during a Metfone Cambodia League (MCL) match at Olympic Stadium.

Wilson Mene of the Prek Pra Keila side reportedly suffered a heart attack during a match against Preah Khan Reach on a day when temperatures reached 37 degrees. Medical workers on hand attempted to revive him on the pitch for around 15 minutes, witnesses said, before loading him into an ambulance bound for Calmette Hospital.

Mao Srun, director of the morgue at Calmette Hospital, said that had Mene arrived at the hospital 30 minutes earlier, doctors might have had a chance of saving him. “The man died of a heart attack, and he died before he even reached the hospital,” Mao Srun said, and added that Mene’s death had likely been brought on by physical exertion in the hot weather.

Ken Gadaffi, president of the Nigerian Community Association in Cambodia and frequent contributor to the Post, said that although Mene was not under contract with Prek Pra Keila, the club has a responsibility to invesigate the incident and handle compensation.

“The club has to take responsibility, whether he signed a pro contract or not. We need to know what really happened to this guy,” Gadaffi said. Mene had played for three different football clubs since 2008 without any apparent health problems, Gadaffi added.

Ouk Socheat, general secretary of the Football Federation of Cambodia, said referees at the match had followed protocol in calling medical staff onto the pitch following Mene’s collapse. The Federation, he added, would not be covering any expenses associated with Mene’s death.

Mao Srun said Sunday afternoon that Mene’s body remained in the morgue at Calmette Hospital because medical officials were unsure of whom to contact to pick up his remains. Gadaffi said Prek Pra Keila and the MCL would need to contact Mene’s family and the Nigerian embassy in the Philippines to make funeral arrangements.

A minute’s silence was observed before both Sunday’s Metfone league games.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JAMES O’TOOLE

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