Moustapha Sylla, a football player for the Ivory Coast, passed away at age 21 from a heart attack.
At the Robert Champroux Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday, the defender passed out during the match between Racing Club Abidjan and SOL FC.
The left-sided defender takes several steps backward before losing his balance and falling down close to the center circle, as seen in heartbreaking video from the Ivory Coast.
Teammates and opponents who were terrified immediately pleaded with the referee to halt play.
Once Sylla was removed from the pitch, officials made the decision to continue the game in the top division of Ivory Coast.
AFP was informed by the Ivorian club’s president, Logossina Cissé that ‘Moustapha Sylla died Sunday night following an illness on the field during the match with Sol FC.’
‘Sylla passed away during transport to the hospital. He had arrived in September and was only 21 years old.’
RC Abidjan wrote on its official Twitter account, saying: ‘Our defender Sylla Moustapha died this evening after an illness on the pitch.’
‘Management sends sincere condolences to his family. Rest in peace Moustapha. Rest in peace LION.’
The Ivorian Football Federation paid tribute on Facebook with the following post: “The President of the Ivorian Football Federation and his executive committee regret to announce the death of player Moustapha Sylla, left-back of the Racing Club of Abidjan, on Sunday, March 5, 2023, after falling on the lawn of the Robert Champroux stadium, during the match. Urgently transported to a hospital center, the 21-year-old player unfortunately succumbed to his discomfort.”
“In these moments of pain and emotion, the FIF sends its most saddened condolences to the family of the deceased, the leaders and players of the Racing Club of Abidjan, as well as to the Ivorian football family. The FIF asks everyone to pray for the rest of his soul.”
The Racing d’Abidjan club and OGC Nice have a cooperation. Racing d’Abidjan has been competing in the Ivorian first division since the 2018/2019 season.
It won the Côte d’Ivoire title in 2020 and is currently ranked seventh overall.
Sylla transferred from the Malian team Djoliba AC to RC Abidjan last September.