The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed the death of FIFA/CAF Medical Officer, Dr Joseph Kabungo, on Tuesday after the FIFA World Cup playoff match between Nigeria and Ghana at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Dr Kabungo had neem appointed as Doping Control Officer for the match.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, expressed his regret over the death of the Zambian in a statement on Wednesday and condoled with the family of the deceased and the various footballing bodies
“We are terribly shocked at this sad development. The NFF commiserates with world football –body FIFA, the Confederation of African Football, the Football Association of Zambia and the family of Dr Kabungo on his sudden passing. His death pains us very much and we are in a state of deep shock,” he said.
Controversies had trailed the death of Kabungo, with some accounts claiming Kabungo slumped and died while carrying out doping tests on the players, others pointed to the stampede that ensued after the match.
However, Dr Sanusi debunked any of these insisting that the doctor’s last moments were of him struggling to breathe close to the Ghanian dressing room.
“According to the information from our own medical officer, Dr Onimisi Ozi Salami who was appointed by FIFA as Medical Officer for the game, Dr Kabungo was found gasping for breath near the dressing room of the Ghanaian team.”
“I was notified and ordered that he should be rushed to the hospital. He didn’t make it. He died just as they got to the hospital,” he said.
He also disclosed that Dr Ozi Salami confirmed that the incident happened when he (Dr Salami) was looking to get the Nigerian player for the doping exercise, while Dr Kabungo was looking to get the Ghanaian player for the same exercise.
“I was heading to the dressing room of the Nigerian team when the General Coordinator, Kabore Hubert Bosilong from South Africa called my attention. Dr Kabungo suddenly started gasping for breath.”
“The FIFA Security Officer for the match, Mr Dixon Adol Okello from Uganda also witnessed the incident.” he further said.
Dr Sanusi also said Dr Kabungo’s cause of death was a cardiac arrest as attempts to revive him proved abortive
“We tried to resuscitate him there and then, but when this did not appear to be working, we put him in an ambulance and rushed him to Cedar Crest Hospital in Apo, where he gave up the ghost.”
‘It is a very sad incident and one is shocked that some persons have been putting a terrible slant to the whole thing by saying he was beaten up by fans. That is a lie. He died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.”
Officials of the NFF, the medical team and officials of the High Commission of Zambia held a meeting on Wednesday morning to decide on the next line of action following the demise of Dr Kabungo.