Marc-Vivien Foe, a former Cameroon national team player, died on 26 June 2003 in the middle of a Confederations Cup match.
It was a scene that shocked the world as the FIFA organized competition was hugely followed at the time. Foe was fresh from winning the AFCON 2002 version with the Indomitable Lions and so represented Africa as champions in the Confederations Cup the following year.
18 years on, Cameroon's legend Roger Milla still remembers what happened that day at the Gerland stadium in France.
He spoke to Sport News Africa in Yaounde.
"Marc was a nice guy, very respectful. It's been eighteen years since he left us but for me it's as if it was yesterday," said the man with 102 caps and 36 goals. ''I was at that game," he said. '' When I saw Marc Vivien fall, especially when his hand was tilted to the side while he was being carried on the stretcher, I knew it was serious.''
Roger Milla, who won the African Golden Ball twice (1976 and 1990), remembers leaving his seat in the stands to go to the dressing room. '' I knew the Gerland stadium," he continued, "so I went downstairs and went to the infirmary. Once there, the doctors, whom I knew well, told me: Roger, it's over. The 69-year-old former player refused to believe that this was possible. He asked to see Marc Vivien Foe.
"When the doctors brought me into the room, I found that he had already been covered. I realized that he had definitely passed on. I then went to the dressing room to tell the whole team the sad news. It was very hard," recalls Roger Milla, his voice full of sadness.
Foe died while playing the Confederations Cup Semi finals between Cameroon and Columbia. The player, unmarked, collapsed around the center circle and never recovered. He was pronounced dead minutes later.
The former Olympic Lyon midfielder has an award on his honor in the French topflight which decorates the best African footballer each season after his demise.
SNA in Cameroon