The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dismissed reports that a Confederation of African Football (CAF) doping control officer who passed away on Tuesday night was beaten by fans until he lost his consciousness.
The Zambian doctor, Joseph Kabungo, was working as a medical officer at the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff between Nigeria and Ghana when he died shortly after the game at the MKO Abiola Stadium.
NFF said Kabungo died of a cardiac arrest. In a statement, NFF said the deceased was found near the dressing room of the Ghanaian team. General Secretary Mohamed Sanusi was quoted as saying:
We are terribly shocked at this sad development. The NFF commiserates with world football body FIFA, the Confederation of African Football, the Football Association of Zambia and the family of Dr Kabungo on his sudden passing. His death pains us very much and we are in a state of deep shock.
However, it is important to state the facts as they are. According to the information from our own medical officer, Dr Onimisi Ozi Salami who was appointed by FIFA as medical officer for the game, Dr Kabungo was found gasping for breath near the dressing room of the Ghanaian team.
I was notified and ordered that he should be rushed to the hospital. He didn’t make it. He died just as they got to the hospital.
I was heading to the dressing room of the Nigerian team when the General Coordinator, Kabore Hubert Bosilong from South Africa called my attention. Dr Kabungo suddenly started gasping for breath.
The FIFA Security Officer for the match, Mr Dixon Adol Okello from Uganda also witnessed the incident.
We tried to resuscitate him there and then, but when this did not appear to be working, we put him in an ambulance and rushed him to Cedar Crest Hospital in Apo, where he gave up the ghost.
It is a very sad incident and one is shocked that some persons have been putting a terrible slant to the whole thing by saying he was beaten up by fans. That is a lie. He died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.