Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
WHEN the Africa Cup of Nations tournament kicks off on Sunday in Luanda, Angola, none - if any - of the 416 players taking part would have overcome quite the same number of obstacles as Nigerian captain Nwankwo Kanu.
Its a given that for a footballer coming from this continent and making it big on a global scale, he first has to jump through many hoops. As if all that adversity was not enough, Kanu also survived open-heart surgery at 22.
Kanu made use of this second chance, going on to be the most decorated African footballer in history, and also establishing the Kanu Heart Foundation.
And now, after a career nearing its second decade, Cameroon defender Rigobert Song is probably the only other player in Angola who has had as much experience as Kanu in top-flight football and whose curriculum vitae glows as brightly as that of the celebrated Super Eagle.
The 34-year old announced his intention to quit international football after the World Cup in June, bringing to an end the remarkable career of a unique and gentle African giant who will be sorely missed.
Below is a list of footballers who were not as lucky as Kanu, and died due to various heart ailments. Of these, the death of Kanu's compatriot Samuel Okwaraji, who collapsed and died at the age of 24 while playing against Angola in a World Cup qualifier in 1989, is probably the most poignant.
FIELD FATALITIES: Herve King - Ringmar (27); Chaswe Nsofwa - Hapoel Beersheba (28); Antonio Puerta - Sevilla (22); Ivan Karacic - NK Siroki Brijeg (19); Mohamed Abdelwahab - Al Ahly (23); Nilton Pereira Mende s - Shakhtyor Karaganda (30); Matt Gadsby - Hinckley United (27); Paul Sykes - Folkestone Invicta (28); Alin Paicu - Minerul Matasari (32); Serginho - Sao Caetano (30); Danny Ortiz - CSD Municipal (27); Miklos Feher - Benfica (24); Marc-Vivien Foe - Cameroon (28);
Catalin Hildan - Dinamo Bucharest (24); Eri Irianto - Persebaya Surabaya; Stefan Vrabioru - Astra Ploiesti (23); Waheeb Jabarra -
Hapoel Taibe; Amir Angwe - Julius Berger (29); Michael Goddard - Dundela; Michael Klein - Bayer Uerdingen (33); David Longhurst - York City (25); Dursun Ozbek - Galatasaray (17); Renato Curi - Perugia (24); Tony Aveyard - Scarborough (21); Pavao -
FC Porto (26); Tony Allden - Highgate United; and Frank Levick - Sheffield United (26).