Its 2003 and the footballing world is preparing for the Confederations Cup in France.
Africa is represented by Cameroon in a tournament that has hosts France, Brazil, Japan, Colombia, United States of America, Turkey and New Zealand.
Cameroon finds themselves in Group B together with Europe representative Turkey, Brazil and the United States. The team headed by German Winfried Schafer has a star-studded that has a series of players plying their trade in Europe.
In the group is one Marc-Vivien Foe who has just moved to England with Manchester City acquiring his services on a loan deal from French giants Lyon. The midfielder at his peak had helped RC Lens to the Ligue One title in 1998 and strong interest from Manchester United surfaces but an injury while on duty with the national team ruins the move.
Foe, is hoping that the tournament being held in his former stomping ground will be a stage where he reminds everyone about his abilities. The Africans begin their campaign with a 1-0 loss at the hands of World Champions Brazil but dust themselves up in the second game against Turkey with a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Turkey on 21st June; the solo goal scored in the dying minutes by Geremi Njitap from the penalty spot.
They are to close their group proceedings with a scoreless draw against the USA, a game which Foe was rested for; three points below leaders Brazil to make it to the semifinal stage. Cameroon is paired against Colombia who had finished second in Group A with the match slated for Lyon on 26th June.
It’s an action field match and Cameroon takes a 9th-minute lead through Ndiefi at the Stade de Gerland. With no contact, Foe goes down in the 72nd minute. Colombia defender Mario Yepes is the first to notice his opponents down and signals Eric Djemba-Djemba about the event.
Valery Mezague (who also died of heart attack eleven years later) is introduced for Foe who is stretched out of the field of play with the match continuing as usual. The match ends with Njitap’s early goal being the difference and while the Cameroon players enjoy their victory against Colombia, Foe was actually waving goodbye to the world.
After attempts to resuscitate him on the pitch, he was stretchered off the field, where he received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen. Reports indicate that he was still alive upon arrival at the stadium's medical centre, but died shortly afterwards.
FIFA, in an autopsy, said that Foé's death was heart-related as it discovered evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He was to be buried on July 7th after Cameroon lost to host France in the final. A match that had Thierry Henry score the winner in the 97th minute.
He was described as a generous man by the people who knew him with Cameroon retiring jersey 17 in honour of their midfielder.
🌼Continue resting Marc.