Local football was plunged into grief this past Friday following the death of Township Rollers winger Gofaone “The President” Tiro.
The 26-year-old collapsed during his team’s early training session on Friday morning.
While details are still sketchy, there is already swelling opinion that the likeable winger may have died of a possible heart attack or cardiac arrest.
The harrowing demise of the Rollers’ winger was announced on the team’s website and social media pages on the same day.
According to the Rollers website, Tiro “inadvertently collapsed while training”.
“He was rushed to the nearest medical facility, but was certified dead on arrival. We await feedback from the doctors. Supporters shall be informed about the funeral arrangements in due course,” so reads the statement.
Speaking in an interview, Township Rollers secretary general Khumo Masonya said the player had shown no signs of sickness before he collapsed.
“We cannot guess what may have happened as there was no contact whatsoever with the player when he collapsed,” he explained.
According to Masonya, following his collapse, Tiro was immediately attended to by the team medical team but their attempts to keep him alive were in vain.
“They tried all they could to keep him alive both at the training ground and on the way to the medical facility. Unfortunately, they could not save him and he was pronounced dead at the hospital,” he concluded.
Tiro, who joined Rollers from Uniao Flamengo Santos four years ago, is said to have started his football career at a very tender age and played primary school football before he was taken by “Chiefs Botswana” as a development player at the age of 12.
He was later promoted to the “Chiefs Botswana” senior team at the age of 17 and played there for four years before joining Uniao Flamengo Santos, then known as Flamengo Desportos.
While the sudden death of a footballer in his prime is harrowing, it is not so uncommon for footballers to lose their lives on the field or training grounds.
In the seven-day period leading to Tiro’s demise, at least three people were recorded to have suffered such attacks. Of the three incidents, two resulted in death while one survived.
Two days prior to Tiro’s sudden death (Wednesday), former Gabon defender Moise Brou Apanga died from cardiac arrest at the age of 35 years. The player is said to have suffered the cardiac arrest during a training session with his team Football Canon 105 de Libreville.
Prior to that, former England defender Ugo Ehiogu, then a coach of the Tottenham Spurs Under-23, suffered a cardiac arrest at the team’s training centre on April 20. He died in hospital the following day.
Also this past Tuesday, Veteran East Bengal defender Anwar Ali has was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata after suffering a major cardiac arrest following training. Luckily, the player was rushed to the hospital and was said to be in a stable condition.