Nasarawa United defender Chineme Martins collapsed on the field during a Nigerian Premier League match on Sunday and he later died in hospital, club chairman Isaac Danladi told ESPN.
“He slumped on the field of play and was rushed to the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital and passed [away] there,” Danladi told ESPN.
“It is a sad day for Nigerian football and we are devastated.”
Witnesses told ESPN that Martins collided with an opposing player around the 45-minute mark before passing out on the field.
With limited medical personnel on scene, club officials, teammates and fans attempted to revive him without success.
A statement released by the League Management Company expressed regret at the player’s death, and quoted chairman Shehu Dikko as saying that the LMC expects an autopsy.
“It is hoped that the findings of the autopsy would inform subsequent measures, if any, that have not been addressed by the existing standard procedures,” the statement read.
Martins is not the first player to die while playing on Nigerian football fields. In 1954,David Omofeye collapsed while playing for Railways against Marines. He was taken to the Lagos General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
In 1974, Shooting Stars’ John Akande collided with an opposing player and died soon after.
Julius Berger’s Amir Angwe also collapsed and died on the field during a 1995 African Cup Winners Cup game against Mozambique’s Maxaquene.
Former junior international Tunde Charity Ikhidero also died in similar circumstances while playing for Insurance against Niger Tornadoes in 1997.