Hypertensive patients warned against watching AFCON final as 5 Nigerians die after Super Eagles/Bafana Bafana match

Hypertensive patients have been warned against participating in activities that cause excitement or put much pressure on the heart.

They were also warned to steer clear of the upcoming final match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) next Sunday.

This comes after no fewer than five persons died on Wednesday night while watching the semi-final match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote D’Ivoire.

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They include a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; Deputy Bursar, Kwara State University, Malete, Ayuba Abdullahi, and a corps member serving in Adamawa State, simply identified as Samuel.

Anambra-born businessman, Osondu Nwoye, based in Cote d’Ivoire, was also reported to have collapsed inside the stadium, while watching the match and died later in hospital. A 43-year-old man, identified as Mikail Osundiji, who is a sales representative with one of the multi-national manufacturing companies in Nigeria, Nestle, also died watching the match in Abeokuta.


Reacting to the development on Wednesday, a Consultant Cardiologist at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Dr Ramon Moronkola, attributed the spate of sudden death while watching a football match to either a heart attack or a stroke.

In a telephone interview with Vanguard, Moronkola said grief or excitement could cause sudden death, particularly if there was an underlying medical issue that is diagnosed or undiagnosed.

“People can die suddenly as a result of grief or excitement. For those that die as a result of excitement, usually there is an underlying cardiovascular issue, either known or unknown to the individual.

”For people that develop heart failure for example or those that have had what is called Ischemic Heart Disease, which is some form of blockage in their heart before, any form of excitement can tilt such people towards a heart attack.

“Some people are also prone to developing what are called arrhythmias when there is an emotional surge. Arrhythmias mean the heart is beating abnormally and goes into an abnormal rhythm, and that can also lead to sudden death.”

On what individuals can do to prevent such unexpected occurrences of sudden death, Moronkola said everyone should undergo regular health checks, even as he called for immediate resuscitation of emergency response and preparedness approaches in Nigeria.

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“There is nothing that can be beyond regular checks even if you have no symptoms and don’t feel any pain, it is good to check. It is when there is no war that you prepare for war, so even if you have no symptoms, and you are not sick, it is good to have regular checks so that you can detect any underlying issues. That is the only way forward.

“Try regular health checks so that you can know what your background condition is and manage it appropriately. If you have high blood pressure that is not controlled and when you have an emotional surge, your blood pressure will go through the roof compared to someone whose blood pressure or hypertension is well controlled.”

In the same vein, consultant family physician at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Dr. Chira Obiora, told LEADERSHIP that people can watch football but they should first of all know their health challenges.

Dr Obiora said if your health challenges get stimulated, watching football will release adrenaline which can cause problem especially if you have a cardiovascular problem.

“It can trigger a heart problem and the person can have heart attack and die. It can even trigger stroke in some people especially if they are not controlling their blood pressure very well. That is why excitement can kill somebody.

“Excitement whether positive or negative, there are hormones that are released. That hormone is known as adrenaline, that is the hormone released when one is excited. It also releases it in anxiety, so what happens is that this hormone, one of the functions is that it can narrow blood vessels and make the blood pressure to increase a bit.


“So if one is having a pressure problem, it can trigger it or if the pressure is not good enough, it can even burst because if it is narrower, the pressure in the vessels will increase, so that is how it stringers heart attack. Even the narrowness of blood vessels can cause different forms of cardiovascular phenomenon to arise; from heart attack to stroke to even the clot in the blood vessel which can even detach and go and block somewhere, it can cause pulmonary embolism or any other thing,” he explained.

Also, a former Osun State Commissioner for Works, Remi Omowaiye, has issued cautionary advice to Nigerians suffering from hypertension, advising them to steer clear of the upcoming final match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) next Sunday.

In a statement released in Osogbo, Omowaiye shared his own experience of anxiety during the semi-final, especially during the tense moments when Nigeria had a penalty awarded against them towards the end of the game.

Reflecting on his reaction, he disclosed his decision to avoid watching the final match live, opting instead to view the replay after knowing the outcome, to spare himself the emotional and physical stress.

Moreover, Omowaiye called upon the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to honor the memory of the fans who tragically lost their lives while following the semi-final match.

He emphasized the importance of acknowledging and paying tribute to the dedicated supporters, asserting that those who passed away in such circumstances deserve recognition and remembrance.

The statement reads, “The Super Eagles of Nigeria should mourn those who died while watching the semi-final match on Wednesday. I want to advise Nigerians in their interest, especially those managing hypertension.

“They should not watch the final match on Sunday. They better wait till the game ends and watch the replay. The way I felt particularly when a penalty was awarded against Nigeria during the semi-final match, I had never felt like that in my whole life. I was shivering.

“Even after the match, I was still shivering. I advise Nigerians managing hypertension to avoid watching the final match. NFF needs to mourn people who died as a result of shock during the semi-final match.

“A leader of APC in Delta State, Dr Cairo, passed out during the match, and a notable Nigerian businessman operating in Cote D’Ivoire also died. The Deputy Bursar of a university in Kwara State also passed out.

“It was also reported that a Corps member in Kaduna also slumped and died during the match. Those are the ones reported. There may be several other unreported cases.”

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