The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Wednesday confirmed the death of a FIFA/CAF Medical Officer, Joseph Kabungo, after the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff match between Nigeria and Ghana.
Mohammed Sanusi, NFF’s General Secretary, made the confirmation in a statement by the Federation’s Communications Department, and expressed shock and sorrow over the incident.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kabungo died on his way to the hospital from the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday.
“We are terribly shocked at this sad development,” Sanusi said.
“The NFF commiserates with world football governing–body FIFA, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) 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.”
He then gave an account of what happened to Kabungo who was the match’s Doping Control Officer.
“It is important to state the facts as they are.
“According to the information from our own Medical Officer, Onimisi Salami who was appointed by FIFA as the game’s Medical Officer, 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. But he didn’t make it. He died just as they got to the hospital,” the NFF General Secretary said.
Salami went on to state that the incident happened when he was looking to get the Nigerian player for the doping exercise as required.
“It was at this same time that Kabungo was looking to get the Ghanaian player for the same exercise.
“But as I was heading to the dressing room of the Nigerian team, the General Coordinator, Kabore Bosilong from South Africa, called my attention.
“Kabungo suddenly started gasping for breath. The match’s FIFA Security Officer, Dixon 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.”
Meanwhile, some NFF officials, the medical team and officials of the High Commission of Zambia held a meeting on Wednesday morning.
The focus of the meeting was the next line of action following Kabungo’s demise.