kanu gives jali hope

REPORTS this weekend that defender Andile Jali has been sent for assessment at a leading medical centre in the US have raised concerns that this will end his 2010 World Cup ambitions with Bafana Bafana.

REPORTS this weekend that defender Andile Jali has been sent for assessment at a leading medical centre in the US have raised concerns that this will end his 2010 World Cup ambitions with Bafana Bafana.

The South African Football Association announced that they had, on recommendation from specialists, taken a decision to send Jali to the University of Florida's Gainsville Medical Centre for specialist assessment.

A routine test on the Orlando Pirates star detected what doctors described as as a mild cardiovascular condition.

Safa said the tests will be performed on time for Jali to be available for the finalisation of the squad.

Though this could be a setback for Jali, who has been phenomenal since bursting into the limelight after his heroics at last year's Nedbank Cup, has the example of Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu to look up to.

The Nigerian captain famously overcame a similar setback to return to the pitch and soar to even greater heights.

When his career was at its peak at Inter Milan, Kanu was diagnosed with congenital heart disease and underwent surgery to replace an aortic valve at the Cleveland Hospital.

This led Kanu to establish the Nwankwo Kanu Heart Foundation in 2000, a charity organisation to help underprivileged African children and young adults living with various heart ailments in Nigeria and other African countries.

But while Kanu and Jali's conditions were timeously discovered and tragedy averted, heart conditions have claimed a long list of footballers.

Below are just a few of the players who succumbed to heart ailments while on the field:

l Marc Vivien Foe - the Cameroonian collapsed while playing in the 2003 Fifa Confederations Cup semifinal between his country and Colombia, and died in hospital shortly afterwards.

An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;

l Brazilian Serginho died from cardiac arrest while his team was playing against Sao Paulo in 2004;

l Al Ahly's Mohamed Abdelwahab, who was in the Egyptian side that won the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, was 23 when he collapsed during training and died from an undetected heart condition;

l In 2007 22-year-old Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta died from sudden heart failure during a match against Getafe CF; and

l Two months ago, Endurance Idahor collapsed during the match his Sudanese club Al Merreikh were playing against Alamal Atbara.

He died in the ambulance and an autopsy revealed that he had suffered circulatory collapse caused by a heart attack.

X