Marc Vivien Foe, Forever in our hearts
Today marks 14 years since Cameroonian International midfielder Marc Vivien Foe died, while defending the national colours of the country in France
Foé was part of the Cameroon squad for the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, a tournament played between continental champions from the six continents. He played in wins against Brazil and Turkey, and was rested for the match against the United States, with Cameroon having already qualified.
On 26 June 2003, Cameroon faced Colombia in the semi-finals, held at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France. In the 72nd minute of the match Foé collapsed in the center circle with no other players near him. After attempts to resuscitate him on the pitch, he was stretchered off the field, where he received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen. Medics spent 45 minutes attempting to restart his heart, and although he was still alive upon arrival at the stadium's medical center, he died shortly afterwards.
A first autopsy did not determine the exact cause of his death, but a second autopsy concluded that Foé's death was heart-related as it discovered evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy a hereditary condition known to increase the risk of sudden death during physical exercise.
Foé's widow Marie-Louise stated that he had been ill with gastric problems and dysentery before his final match, but he was adamant to play in his adopted hometown of Lyon.
The team coach Winfried Schafer wanted to substitute him minutes before his heart attack, observing that the player seemed fatigued, but he signaled that he wanted to continue
Foé's death caused a profound shock. Numerous tributes to his joyous personality and infectious humour were expressed in the media. Also Thierry Henry and other players pointed to the sky in tribute to Foé after Henry had opened the scoring against Turkey in France's Confederations Cup semi-final that evening.
Tributes left at the front gates of Maine Road.
It was suggested that the Confederations Cup and the Stade Gerland could have been renamed after him, and Manchester City manager Kevin Keegan announced that the club would no longer use the number 23 shirt Foé wore during his successful season there.
At Manchester City's former ground, Maine Road, there is a small memorial to him in the stadium's memorial garden, and on the walls of the players' tunnel are plaques paid for by supporters, with their names, dubbed the Walk of Pride. The first plaque on the wall is for Marc and reads "Marc Vivien Foé – 1975–2003". His first club Lens gave his name to an avenue near the Stade Félix Bollaert. Foé was given a state funeral in Cameroon. Lens decided to withdraw the number 17 shirt that Foé wore during five years.
Tribute plaque at the City of Manchester Stadium
Lyon also decided to withdraw the number 17 shirt that Foé wore a year before when he played at the Stade de Gerland with the Lyon team. People in Lyon were shocked as he had received a warm welcome on his return to the stadium.
However, when fellow Cameroonian Jean II Makoun was transferred to Lyon, Makoun took up the number 17 shirt, explaining that he wore the number: "In memory of Marc, for me and for the whole Cameroon, this will be for something."
Prior to the kick-off of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup final between United States and Brazil, his son, then fourteen years old, gave a brief speech in memory of his father.
While Cameroonians were expecting that the Indomitable Lions will honour Marc Vivien Foe's memory during the ongoing tournament, moving far into the games or even bring home the trophy, they were however shoveled out of the game yesterday, when they fail to win Germany, and are on their way home with a ZERO point.
Marc Vivien Foe was however honored by the Lions, as they each wore his NO 20 TshiRt, immediately they the world the 2017 TOTAL AFCON last February.