Libyan footballer infected with Malaria in Nigeria dies, 5 others in serious condition

A Libyan Futsal player Ayman Al-Nagrish , has reportedly died after being infected with malaria during the 2021 Minifootball Africa Cup of Nations, held in Nigeria.

According to a statement by the ministry on Wednesday, the 24 years old player died in a hospital in Tunisia, where he was transferred after his condition deteriorated.

A medical officer who accompanied the team to the tournament in Nigeria earlier this month said that 15 other players were infected, including five who remain in serious condition. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

A statement by Libya’s Youth and Sports Authority vis Libyan Observer also claimed that no fewer than 16 members of the team including their coach were also infected with malaria. The victim alleged that the management had told them upon departure to the West African country that it was not necessary to take malaria jabs before they traveled. They claimed that the advice was offered to them by the National Center for Disease Control as they added that they were lodged in a poor accommodation where they had battled with mosquitoes.

The Libyan team was stranded in Nigeria for some time before the Minister of Sports managed to book them a flight to Egypt then Libya.

After the tournament, the Libyan futsal team returned from Nigeria via Egypt. The players were sickened once home. It was not immediately known if any Egyptian players or players on the other teams in the tournament were sickened. Al-Naqrish’s body was brought home from Tunisia to Libya on Wednesday, 28th July 2021. This is the second time such death will occur to a Libyan Footballer; in 1989, of the superstar footballer, Ahmed al-Buseify, who also died of malaria following his participation in the World Cup qualifiers in Cote d’Ivoire.

The Libyan Minister of Sports Abdelshafie Al-Juwaifi expressed sadness over the situation and immediately ordered an investigation. Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah offered condolences to the family of the dead player and vowed to continue probing the incident.

Futsal is a form of soccer played on a much smaller, hard court and mainly indoors. The African Minifootball Cup in Nigeria was due last year but was delayed over the coronavirus pandemic until this month. It was only the second time the tournament was held and nine teams participated, including the host.

The Libyan futsal team played the final match of the tournament and lost 0-1 to Egypt and finished second. Libya’s player Mohammed Khamis won best player of the tournament award. Libya has qualified for this year’s World Cup in Ukraine.


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