By Henry D Gombya
Reports reaching our News Desk say Congo-born British footballer Fabrice Muamba may have suffered irreparable brain damage after spending two hours without oxygen when his heart stopped beating. Muamba, who plays for Bolton Wanderers, collapsed while his team were drawing with London side Tottenham Spurs 1-1 in an FA Cup Quarter Final match in North London. Distraught players from both clubs were seen Saturday shedding tears and holding their heads in their hands as doctors tried desperately to save Muamba’s life. They could clearly see he had stopped breathing.
Muamba left Spurs official stadium White Hart Lane, practically a dead man after his heart stopped beating. Doctors using the latest equipment in heart surgery that were miraculously available at the stadium, said they managed to restart his heart on the way to London’s Chest Hospital, the country’s best hospital that deals with heart complaints. But fears are growing that the player who is loved by anyone who has ever met him, may have suffered irreparable brain and kidney damage due to the time his body spent without having oxygen.
Born in Kinshasa on April 6 1988, Muamba moved to England in 1999 to join his father who had already sought asylum in the United Kingdom due to the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He surprised many when he one day went to the Arsenal training academy and asked to be given a trial. He is said to have supported Arsenal from childhood and saw his dreams come true when he was allowed to join the Arsenal youth academy in 2002.
Graduating from the academy two years later, Muamba signed profession terms with Arsenal and appeared in two first-team appearances for the club, both in the League Cup against Sunderland on October 25. He then went on to join Birmingham on a season-long loan a year later making 36 appearances on his way to winning the club’s young player of the year award.
In 2007, Muamba got a permanent move to Birmingham after the club agreed a reported £4million fee with Arsenal. The same year, he represented England and continued to do so at every age level from Under-16s. During this time he was handed his England Under-21 debut in a friendly against Romania. Shortly after his 22nd birthday last year, Muamba represented England during the Under-21s European Championships in Denmark and was in line to make it to the senior team shortly. Early this month, there were rumours that Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger was considering bringing back Muamba to the club in the next transfer window at the end of this season.