A Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) official has been confirmed dead in Nigeria in the heat of the chaotic scenes at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja after Ghana's Black Stars forced a 1-1 draw with the Super Eagles in their FIFA World Cup playoffs to book a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar last Tuesday evening.
Tragedy struck when Dr Joseph Kabungo, CAF's Doping Officer for the match, lost his life after suffering a suspected cardiac arrest.
Nigerian newspapers carried the story of how the chaotic end of the World Cup playoffs was further marred by the tragic death of Dr Kabungo — one of Africa's leading sports medicine professionals. He lost his life on duty.
The Daily Trust and The Punch newspapers of Nigeria reported that the Zambian collapsed as he walked towards the Ghanaian team's dressing room and was immediately attended to by medical teams on duty.
The Daily Graphic gathered that medical personnel at the stadium administered Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the deceased for a while to resuscitate him after which he was taken to hospital where he was confirmed dead.
The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) later issued a statement expressing shock at Dr Kabungo's sudden demise in the line of duty.
“The NFF commiserates with the world football governing 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,” said the NFF’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi.
The NFF denied earlier reports that the death was as a result of an attack by irate fans during the post-match stampede.
The Zambian FA also confirmed Dr Kabungo's death and extended its condolences to the family of the deceased.
In a statement, the FA said it would wait for a report from the continental football body on the incident before drawing conclusions.
ZAF President Andrew Kamanga said: “We take note that it is 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. He was a dedicated and widely loved member of our football community and his impact was vast, having also been part of the 2012 Africa Cup-winning team.”
Yesterday, the Nigerian Federation and officials of the High Commission of Zambia held a meeting in Abuja to decide on the next line of action following Dr Kabungo’s death.