Nigerian defender dies after collapsing on the pitch


30-year-old Nigerian defender David Oniya has died after collapsing on the field during a club match in Malaysia.

Just three minutes into the match between his club T-Team and their Malaysian second-division opponents Kelantan, Oniya collapsed and suffered an apparent heart attack and was taken to a hospital.

“He suffered a heart attack but it could have been a different story,” T-Team chief executive Syahrizan Mohd Zain told the English paper New Straits Times in Malaysia. “Our defender was deprived of oxygen for several minutes,” Zain said, implying his player did not receive proper medical attention quickly enough to save his life.

“He was pronounced dead at the hospital about 30 minutes later,” Zain confirmed. The match continued for 60 minutes but was called off after word of Oniya’s death reached the field.

Oniya had played for three clubs in Uzbekistan and one in Azerbaijan before moving to T-Team late last year. “There was no hard running and it was a slow tempo match. It was only a friendly game,” Zain said.