Sofiane Lokar, a player in Algeria’s second division, suffered a heart attack and died during a league fixture on Christmas Day, just one week after he was reportedly married
Algerian football is in mourning after the tragic death of a 30-year-old player in a fixture on Christmas Day.
Sofiane Lokar underwent a heart attack and died while playing for Mouloudia Saida against Oran during a match in the country’s second tier.
According to Turkish outlet SuperHaber, Lokar suffered a suspected head injury during a collision with his own goalkeeper in the 26th minute.
The report claims he was treated by Saida staff before he was cleared to return to action.
However, he collapsed nine minutes later and paramedics were unable to save his life despite performing CPR and attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Lokar served as Saida captain and it is believed he got married last week, making Christmas Day’s events even more heartbreaking.
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The match between the two clubs was suspended and it remains to be seen if or when it will be resumed or replayed.
Lokar’s teammates were left in tears as the traumatic events unfolded around them.
His untimely death comes just three days after a 23-year-old Croatian footballer died following a collapse.
Marin Cacic was rushed to hospital after the incident in training with NK Nehaj Sinj and diagnosed with heart failure, prompting doctors to place him in an induced coma.
However, efforts to save the defender were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead on Friday 23 December.
These recent, devastating deaths come at a time of heightened awareness about player welfare, with mounting concerns about the workload players are burdened with.
European football was rocked by Christian Eriksen’s collapse while representing Denmark in a Euro 2020 fixture against Finland last summer.
The former Tottenham playmaker survived after team doctors successfully used a defibrillator, and he could even return to playing after his release by Inter Milan.
“Football to us is everything and we want to be able to perform at the highest level every time we set foot on the pitch. And unfortunately, in this period it is difficult to do that,” Henderson told BBC Sport.
He added: “You chuck in Covid and it becomes even harder and even worse. I am concerned that nobody really takes player welfare seriously.”
In a press conference, Guardiola said: “The Premier League, the business, is more important than the welfare. Five substitutes – now we have to discuss about that, what they decide will be okay about that.”