“SUDDEN DEATH” ON THE PITCH
Monrovia – Liberian football community is mourning the death of first division’s side National Port Authority Football Club goalkeeper Edwin Boakai.
The NPA shot stopper reportedly collapsed and died Monday morning June 17, during the team’s training. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.
The sudden death of Edwin Boakai now brings to two the number of sportsmen’s death in just four months following the death of Referee Lackey Massaquoi, who died during a physical test for referees in March of 2019.
The exact cause of
death has not been disclosed, but it is believed to be heart failure.
The former Invincible Eleven (IE) number one stopper was one of the key players in the NPA squad this season.
He spent more than
four seasons at NPA Anchors helping the club to gain promotion back to the top
flight of Liberian football.
His teammate Dusty Theo told an online page LIB 24 Sports that Boakai dropped after making a saved.
“He came for practice this morning and appeared well, but when he saved a ball, he dropped and I rushed to him, because I was the closest to him, that’s how I called the medics. He was very helpless after he dropped. His hands and entire body became stiff.”
think he was sick; the only thing I know he has not been playing
regularly,” he said.
The right back
said Boakai was rushed to a nearby clinic, but the clinic said they could not
handle the case, and he was rushed to Redemption Hospital, where he was
pronounced dead on arrival.
Adequate medics for various 1st division clubs have been a serious issue in Liberian football as some clubs continue to play lip service to one aspect of football that is very important.
Since the death of several footballers around the world on the pitch, the issue of medics has been a top priority for teams and clubs globally.
But in Liberia, it is the contrary as clubs and administrators are more concerned about results than players’ welfares which have seen a sudden rise in the number of deaths of football athletes.
In May FrontPageAfrica Sports Desk observed that there were no security protection and medical care for players since the start of the 2019 league at eight of the nine game venues.
Though the Football House and the Liberia Sports Medic (LSM) agreed to work together where the LSM will provide first aid treatment to players in critical condition on the field before taking them to the nearby hospital while the LFA provides the cash, but only at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) sports medics used to be seen.
At the North Star Stadium of Nimba United, Blue Field of BYC, Ganta Sport Pitch of Nimba FC, Saniqullie Sport ground of Heaven Eleven and Nimba Kwado, the Dorris Williams Stadium in Grand Bassa County, Nancy B. Doe Stadium in Kakata, Margibi County, Unification Sports Pitch, Lower Margibi County and the Kingjor Stadium of Grand Cape Mount-based Bea Mountain, sports medics were never available. Injured players in critical condition used carried out of the pitch with hands without stretcher.
Following that publication, LFA took some steps and sent medics to the Dorris William Sports pitch and the Nancy B. Stadium in Grand Bassa and Margibi counties. The LFA needs to address fully before the start of the next league season in September 2019.
There have been massages of condolence to NPA from clubs, sports personalities and the LFA.
In a post on its official social media page, LFA extended condolences to NPA.
“The Liberia Football Association (LFA) expresses its deepest condolence to the management of the National Port Authority (NPA) and NPA Anchors FC on the passing of goalie Edwin Boakai.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the club and his family. May the soul of Edwin Boakai be at peace with our Heavenly Father,” said LFA President Mustapha Raji on behalf of the Executive Committee and staff of the LFA.
“On behalf of the board chairman, President Rochell G. D. Woodson, officials and players of World Girls Football Club, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of NPA F.C for the passing of their goalkeeper Edwin Boakai. We pray that God comfort your during these difficult times. Rest in Peace Edwin Boakai.
“On behalf of the board, President, officials and players of Barrack Young Controller Football Club, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of NPA F.C for the passing of their goalkeeper Edwin Boakai. Rest in Peace Edwin Boakai.”
“Our condolences to the NPA Anchors family for the death of Goalkeeper Edwin Boakai. He reportedly collapsed and died during practice session on Monday morning. R.I.P.”
Meanwhile, a Liberian Sports Journalist, Varmah Kamara, while extending his condolence to the bereaved family, urged the FA to take tough stance against clubs without medics.
Journalist Kamara believes that the deaths of Massaquoi and Boakai would have been avoided if trained medics were available to provide first aids.
He asserted that most times medics are not available at clubs practices, an action that should be punishable because it undermines the development of the game in Liberia.