First vice-president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has expressed worry over frequent cases of heart failure affecting players during matches of Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL).
Akinwunnmi, who is also chairman of Lagos State Football Association, reasoned that more effort is need on the part of the medical crews all clubs in the women’s league, in order to stem the tide of such scary incidents during matches.
However, while worrying over the spate of heart seizures happening to players in the women’s league and other cadres of Nigeria’s domestic competitions, Akinwunmi also promised to look into the causes and come out with possible solutions.
Akinwunmi also pledged to reward a referee, Ruth Okafor for saving the life of Edo Queens’ player, Jennifer Osawaru during a week six fixture in Ilorin.
Osawaru was knocked out by a ball in flight, but Okafor quickly dashed to the scene and revived her with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
In response, the NFF top shot reckoned further that one of the measures to improve the league is to reward any match official with the best performance of each week.
Akinwumi said he was prompted to reward her after learning of her noble act and noted that it could have been fatal had Okafor not been present, but also stressed that there is a need to know the cause of sudden illnesses on the pitch.
“I heard about her heroics which probably led to saving the life of a player who was apparently lying down almost lifeless after being hit.
“First, I think she is blessed. Second, I shudder at the thought of what could have happened if she was not the referee on those occasions.
“Third, we need to get to the bottom of these near death incidents and train all officials in first aid.
“In Lagos we have Sports Medicine Association and I intend to interface with that Association on the issue. As I sit on the board of the LMC, I will raise it at our board meeting.
“I also decided to use the opportunity to encourage the women’s game by giving a reward to the adjudged Referee of the Week in the Nigeria Women Premier League.
“This recommendation could come from ardent women’s football fans, coaches, sports writers, etc,” Akinwunmi concluded.