According to latest developments, Fabrice Muamba, the 23-year-old Bolton Wanderers’ player, is still in critical condition after succumbing to a cardiac arrest during the game against Tottenham Hotspur in the sixth round/quarterfinals of the FA Cup.
However, the tragic news also showcases something beautiful: sense of unrivalled camaraderie amongst the followers of the beautiful game.
Such a disheartening story is a reminder that these men who showcase their skills and dazzle audiences are indeed only men and can succumb to tragedies, and that in the end, football is just a game.
Immediately after the incident, both sets of Tottenham and Bolton fans showed an incredible level of support.
Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman, stated: “The support that we had yesterday from Tottenham and our own fans was fantastic—the staff, the fans, the players and the officials at the game—it was unbelievable.”
Support for Muamba, since then, has come from all corners of the world.
Wigan’s former goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi tweeted: “All our hearts with Fabrice Muamba, one of my closest friends at Bolton. I'm shocked, wishing him a fast recovery.” Al Habsi, former Bolton keeper, was one among the countless number of players who has shown support for the midfielder.
Yesterday, Juventus star Andrea Pirlo dedicated their win over Fiorentina to Muamba. Similarly, today, Gary Cahill and the entire Chelsea roster showed support, with Cahill displaying a T-shirt that revealed “Pray 4 Muamba.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, after his team’s emphatic win over Wolverhampton, stated that Muamba’s situation puts “everything into perspective.”
Even FIFA president Sepp Blatter tweeted: “Shocked to hear about Fabrice Muamba. My thoughts are with him and his family, his club & loved ones at this difficult time.”
As of now, Muamba still remains in critical condition. A joint statement by Bolton and the hospital read:
Fabrice Muamba remains in a critical condition in intensive care in the Heart Attack Centre at The London Chest Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening after collapsing at White Hart Lane, where he sustained a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur. Fabrice received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and on route to The London Chest Hospital, where his heart eventually started working. As is normal medical practice, Fabrice remains anaesthetised in intensive care and will be for at least 24 hours. His condition continues to be closely monitored by the cardiac specialists at the hospital. No further updates are planned at this time.
Let us cast aside football for now and exhibit a sense of solidarity and keep Fabrice Muamba in our prayers.