A lesson from the World Cup

2014-06-23 13:53

Bafana Bafana may not have a goooooood story to tell, South Africa may have little action to write home about on the football pitch but one thing we have learnt as Africans is to rally behind whatever team hails from the continent at the World Cup regardless who they are and how much or how little we know about them.

Despite Africa's failure to bring the trophy home at past World Cup tournaments, Africa has produced some remarkable football players who have inspired many a youngster to dream. Living legends such as George Weah, Roger Miller, Bruce Grobbelaar, Kalusha Bwalya and many others who played football at a time when it wasn't so much about the money but for the love of the game come to mind. However, one cannot wonder but what could have happened had men like Marc Vivien Foe lived on. Marc Vivien Foe was born on 1 May 1975 in Yaounde, Cameroon. The "indomitable lion" affectionately known by friends and teammates as "Marco", lived and died on the football pitch. Boasting of a successful career spanning just over a decade, Marco was a spark brightening every space he occupied as a football player, friends and family man as attested by the tributes that poured in at his death. The Cameroon international player appeared in two World Cup finals and Africa Cup of Nations while plying his trade for a number of European clubs such as Lyon, Lens and Manchester City. Marco seemed to have lived far beyond the mere 28 years he had just clocked at the time of his untimely passing. Robbed though it may seem African football was, we can take our hats off to a man whose last moments were spent serving his country and continent on the football pitch. Marc Vivien Foe collapsed after 72 minutes while playing for Cameroon in a Confederations Cup semi-final match against Columbia on June 6 2003. He was pronounced dead 45 minutes later after numerous attempts by the medical team and paramedics to resuscitate him failed. The cause of death was established as  hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a hereditary condition known to increase the risk of sudden death during physical exercise Survived by his wife Marie-Louise and three children, Marc’s family have done all they can to keep his legacy alive by continuing the construction of  a sports complex in Yaounde that Marc had begun building shortly before his death.

More than ten years later, the Indomitable Lions keep the memory of a great player alive. A man who not only showed prowess on the football pitch but played the game of life to the best of his ability.

As the memory of Marco lives on, what will you and I do to continue the unfinished story he left in the making in our respective disciplines?

Marc Vivien Foe (Youtube)

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