Cameroon's Foe dead at 28
Cameroon's Foe dead at 28
Cameroon defender Lucien Mettomo, foreground,
arrives at Lyon's railway station, Friday, June 27, 2003, to board a high-speed
train for Paris along with Cameroon's teammates and staff members. Cameroon,
whose midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe died after collapsing during their
Confederations Cup semifinal against Colombia on Thursday in Lyon, will play the
final against France on Sunday at the Stade de France stadium in saint-denis,
-- Cameroon will play in the Confederations Cup final against France in tribute
to Marc-Vivien Foe.
A day after the 28-year-old midfielder collapsed and died during a
Confederations Cup semifinal against Colombia, Cameroon players met with Sepp
Blatter, holding hands in prayer with the FIFA president.
FIFA said Foe was treated for diarrhea on Tuesday and was taken to a hospital in
Saint-Etienne for blood tests.
``He assured us he was fine. He really wanted to play,'' Cameroon player
Rigobert Song said. ``He was a physically strong person.''
Foe, who played in all three of Cameroon's games at both the 2002 and 1994 World
Cups, fell to his knees in the 71st minute of Thursday's game in Lyon, where the
temperature was in the low 90s. He was lapsing into unconsciousness when he was
carried off the field on a stretcher to the sideline, where he received
treatment, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen.
minutes of unsuccessful attempts to revive him at the stadium first-aid station,
Foe was pronounced dead, FIFA said.
An initial autopsy report in Lyon found no evidence of ruptured blood vessels in
his brain that could have caused a stroke. A full report most likely won't be
ready until next week, the city's public prosecutor's office said.
Soccer officials said there was no thought to calling off Sunday's final between
African champion Cameroon and European champion France at Saint-Denis, a Paris
``You will be playing in memory of your colleague. Your and our sadness ...
stays in our hearts, but life goes on and so does soccer,'' Blatter told the
players in the central French village of Etrat.
gave a speech at the training center before joining the players in a big circle
and holding hands. Then, all said silent prayers.
``We'll play out of respect,'' Song said. ``Life is hard sometimes. ... We are
still in shock. Maybe when we get to Paris the drama will fade.''
Cameroon's team planned to leave for a training base in Marcoussis, south of
Paris, later Friday.
FIFA said it was awaiting the autopsy before drawing any conclusions. It was not
clear when the results would be released.
``We will learn from the results and make any necessary modifications for the
future,'' Chuck Blazer of the United States, chairman of the Confederations Cup
organizing committee, said Friday at a news conference.
Cameroon's players asked that they be allowed to display the name of their
teammate on their uniforms during the final against defending champion France.
Lyon has been in the midst of a heat wave, with temperatures soaring into the
After Cameroon beat Colombia 1-0, several Cameroon players collapsed on the
field, sobbing. The Colombian players went inside the dressing room to console
Foe was on loan to England's Manchester City in the just-completed season and
scored nine goals in 35 Premier League games. He had eight goals in 64
appearances for Cameroon's national team.
Manchester City's chaplain led a prayer outside the team's Maine Road stadium
Friday, and fans lined up to sign a condolence book. Club chairman John Wardle
laid a wreath inside the stadium, and the team said it may retire his No. 23
all miss his smile and his personality,'' coach Kevin Keegan said on the team's
Web site. ``He was the ultimate professional loved by everyone in the dressing
room and the boardroom. We are all distraught.''
Foe played the first 59 minutes in Cameroon's opener against Brazil on June 19,
played 90 minutes two days later against Turkey, then sat out Monday's game
against the United States.
Several coaches, including the United States' Bruce Arena, have criticized FIFA
for the lack of off-days during the tournament, saying it was unfair to compete
in up to five games in 12 days. FIFA shortened the schedule this year to give
players on European clubs a longer summer break before the 2003-04 European
``Your body is basically trained to play two games a week, and that's pushing it
sometimes,'' Arena said last week. ``But three games in five days is absolutely
insane. And the justifications -- there aren't any.''
Arena, reached after Foe's death, said he didn't know enough about the
circumstances to comment.
Associated Press Writers Barry Hatton in Etrat, and Erica Bulman and Jerome
Pugmire in Saint-Denis contributed to this report.