The Super Eagles observed a minute’s silence on Thursday night in honour of the lives of Nigerians lost in the course of Nigeria’s semi-final match against South Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than four persons died, Wednesday night while watching the semi-final match at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
They include a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr Cairo Ojougboh; Deputy Bursar, Kwara State University, Malete; Ayuba Abdullahi; and a corps member serving in Adamawa, simply identified as Samuel, among others.
Anambra-born businessman Osondu Nwoye, based in Cote d’Ivoire, was also reported to have collapsed inside the stadium while watching the match and died later in the hospital.
Nigeria booked a berth to the AFCON final after a dramatic penalty shootout win against Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
The Super Eagles prevailed 4-2 on penalties following a nervy and captivating 1-1 draw at the end of 120 minutes.
A video posted on the Super Eagles’ official X handle (formerly Twitter) saw the team observe a minute of silence after their dinner for all the lives lost during the game.
Captain Ahmed Musa, who led the session, expressed the team’s heartfelt condolences for the families of those affected by the tragedy, adding that the team identifies with them in this difficult time of their lives.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we lost four good Nigerians because of our semi-final game against South Africa.
“So, we will observe one minute of silence and afterwards pray for God to give their families the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
“There is nothing we can do but identify with them in this difficult time of their lives because they need our support right now.
“Insha Allah, on Sunday, we are going to lift that trophy for them and for our country,” he said.
Musa afterwards requested one of the team’s players, Chigozie Awaziem, to pray for the repose of their souls.
NAN also reports that one of those who lost his life was Chief Nwoye, who was the President and Director-General of Group Auto Promotion.
According to an eyewitness, Nwoye was so elated and shouted on top of his voice when Victor Osimhen scored the second goal, which was later cancelled by VAR.
It was reported that the shout resulted in his collapsing inside the stadium.
All frantic efforts to revive him failed, as he was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
However, experts said excitement could cause sudden death if there was an underlying health condition.
While the whole country was rejoicing on Wednesday, the people of the Amanuike community in Anambra State, where he hails from, were thrown into mourning.
He was an illustrious person, the richest man in the community, who provided shelter, shade, and succour to many in that community.
Nigeria take on hosts Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the AFCON 2023 tournament at the Stade Olympique Alassane-Ouattara d’Ebimpé in Abidjan on Sunday at 8 p.m. (NAN)