Of careers cut short

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 6.12.04
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The Cristiano Junior tragedy is only the second such incident on Indian turf (and the first foreigner on Indian soil). The first such incident on Indian soil was involving a Railways midfielder, Sanjib Dutta, in 1993. He died off a collision in the Santosh Trophy in Kannur. The following is a list of onfield deaths:

• Cristiano de Lima Junior (Brazil) 2004 ? Striker and prolific scorer, was a constant support for East Bengal last season before he moved to Dempo of Goa. Here, too, he was the terror that he was with the red-golds of Calcutta. Was scorer of both goals in Dempo?s victory over Mohun Bagan in the Federation Cup final in Bangalore. Clashed with Bagan goalkeeper Subrata Pal, collapsed on the ground and died before he could be transferred to the hospital. He was 24 years old.

Serginho (Brazil) 2004 ? The Sao Caetano defender died in Sao Paulo, after suffering an apparent cardio-respiratory arrest and collapsing on the pitch during that Wednesday?s Brazilian championship match against Sao Paulo. The match was abandoned after Serginho (full name Paulo Sergio de Oliveira Silva), was taken to hospital early in the second half of the game at the Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo. Television pictures showed Serginho, who celebrated his 30th birthday eight days ago, being carried off as doctors from both teams tried to revive him.

The Sao Luiz hospital said in a statement the player died 40 minutes after being brought in..

Miklos Feher (Hungary) 2004 ? The Hungarian international died after collapsing from a heart attack in a Portuguese league game between his club Benfica and Vitoria Guimaraes.

Marc-Vivien Foe (Cameroon) 2003 ? In perhaps the most high profile international onfield death, the Cameroon midfielder collapsed and died during a Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia in France. He was suffering from a heart-related condition. Sao Caetano goalkeeper Silvio Luiz told television reporters that Serginho had been found to have a heart condition during routine tests at the start of this year.

• Marcio Dos Santos (Brazil), 2002 - The 28-year-old striker died of a heart attack just hours after scoring a goal for Peruvian side Deportivo Wanka.

• Geovanny Cordoba and Hermann Gaviria (Colombia), 2002 - The duo, of which the latter was a former international, died after being struck during a training session. A third player was struck by lightning and died after a match in Ukraine the previous July.

Stefan Vrabioru (Romania), 2000 - The 26-year-old Astra Ploiesti player died on the way to hospital following a fall just minutes after being brought on for his first division debut against Rapid Bucharest.

• Sanjib Dutta (India), 1993 - The 27-year-old Railways midfielder died after an on-field collision in the Santosh Trophy match against Andhra Pradesh in Kannur on February 14.

Dave Longhurst (Britain), 1990 - The 25-year-old York City striker collapsed in a league match against Lincoln City and passed away. An inquest revealed he had suffered from a rare heart condition.

Samuel Okwaraji (Nigeria), 1989 - Collapsed 10 minutes from the end of a World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos and died from cardiac failure. An autopsy found the 24-year-old had an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

Oliver Petit (France), 1987 - The 20-year-old brother of French international midfielder Emmanuel Oliver died during a match playing for amateur club Arques.

• Erik Jongbloed (Netherlands), 1984 - The DWS goalkeeper was killed by lightning during a match in front of his father, the former national team goalie Jan Jongbloed.

Fernando Pascoal das Neves (Portugal), 1973 - The Porto player collapsed and died during a league match - in the 13th minute of the 13th game of the season.

• Constantin Tabarcea (Romania), 1963 - The 26-year-old Petrolul Ploiesti player died after collapsing during a first division match.

• John Thompson (Scotland), 1931 - The 23-year-old Celtic and Scotland goalkeeper dived at the feet of Rangers forward Sam English in Glasgow and suffered a fractured skull. He died later in hospital without regaining consciousness.

Note - One of the most infamous soccer deaths of recent years did not happen on the pitch, but as a direct result of what happened on it. Andres Escobar (Colombia, 1994) scored an own goal in Colombia?s 1-2 defeat to the US in the 1994 World Cup finals and was murdered soon after returning home to Colombia by a hitman. (Agencies)