Nigerian referee dies after thunderstorm strikes on pitch
A Nigerian registered referee identified as Mustafa Sulaiman Coach 02 was reportedly stricken down by thunderstorm.
He was hit during a friendly football match on Tuesday evening in the community’s primary and secondary schools’ field in Madalla town, Niger State.
Sources at the scene off the incident said, “It was raining and all the footballers along with their fans were taken refuge inside the school’s classrooms. The referee along with his assistant (line man) rushed back to the field, demanding the players to join them.
“They were only at the centre of the pitch when the thunder struck. Two of them were rushed to a hospital, where Sulaiman was confirmed dead on arrival while his assistant was revived.”
Not new in Africa
In 1998, in the central African state of Congo, a freak blast of lightning struck dead an entire team on a football field while their opponents were left completely untouched.
Fans said it was as a result of witchcraft
The bizarre blow by the weather to all 11 members of the football team was reported in the daily newspaper L’Avenir in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo.
“Lightning killed at a stroke 11 young people aged between 20 and 35 years during a football match,” the newspaper reported . It went on to say that 30 other people had received burns at the weekend match, held in the eastern province of Kasai. “The athletes from Basanga [the home team] curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed.”
The suspicion that the black arts might be involved arose firstly because the opposing team emerged unharmed and then again because the score at the time was a delicately balanced one all.
“The exact nature of the lightning has divided the population in this region which is known for its use of fetishes in football,” the newspaper commented.
Witchcraft is often blamed for adverse natural phenomena throughout western and central Africa. It is relatively frequent for football teams to hire witchdoctors to place hexes on their opponents.
In a similar, though less deadly incident in South Africa over the weekend, six players from a local team were hurt when lightning struck the playing field during a thunderstorm.
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