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‘Okwaraji would have been alive if Nigeria had emergency response equipment’

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The late Sam Okwaraji

Super Eagles former attacker, Etim John Esin, believes the late national team star, Samuel Okwaraji, would have been saved if the country had the right equipment and medical personnel when the star slumped at the Lagos National Stadium in 1989.

Okwaraji slumped and was later pronounced dead during an Italia 1990 World Cup qualifier against Angola in 1989.

Drawing from the anxiety that gripped the global football family and the subsequent relief when Danish midfielder, Christian Eriksen, slumped and was later resuscitated during a Euro 2020 game against Finland, Esin said the Inter Milan star would not have made it if he were in Nigeria.

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He advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to mandate clubs to learn the use of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and also upgrade their medical facilities in their camps and match venues.

Esin said the late Okwaraji would not have died if the life-saving CPR technique had been applied on him with the continued aid of a defibrillator by medical staff and other professionals.

“Where is our paramedic, the medical teams, professionals who can do all that was done for Eriksen to be alive now? If it were to be in a Third World country, Eriksen would have been dead.

“The same scenario played out in the case of the late Okwaraji, who slumped and died in the World Cup qualifier against Angola in 1989. It is about time we learnt a lesson from the Eriksen experience. Nigeria should not be having problems getting medical experts and other professionals around in league games.

“The same quick response enjoyed by Eriksen was what Fabrice Muamba experienced and he is alive up till today. But when you talk, they want to make a scapegoat out of you… they deny you the opportunity of contributing your expertise to the growth of our football.

“Quick detection saved the life of Kanu Nwankwo from a heart disease. Unfortunately, players like Cote d’Ivoire’s Cheick Tiote and Cameroun’s Marc-Vivien Foe did not survive the attack,” he said.

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