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Marc-Vivien Foé (1 May 1975 – 26 June 2003) was a Cameroonianmarker international football player, who played in midfield for both club and country. With success in the French League, and stints in the English Premier League, his sudden death, while in the middle of an international competitive fixture, came as a shock to the worldwide footballing community. He was posthumously decorated with the Commander of the National Order of Valour.

Biography

Foé was born on 1 May 1975 in Yaoundémarker. Foé started his career as a junior with Second Division Union Garoua, before moving to Canon Yaoundé, one of the biggest clubs in Cameroon, where he won the Cameroon Cup in 1993. He made his international debut against Mexico in September 1993, and the following year he was included in the Cameroon squad for the 1994 World Cup, starting all three of Cameroon's matches. Marred by financial and disciplinary disputes, the 1994 Cameroon squad was a shadow of that which had reached the quarter-finals in 1990, mustering just one point from three matches, and finishing with a 6–1 defeat to Russia. However, Foé's performances in the tournament were sufficient to prompt interest from European clubs. After turning down an offer to join Auxerre as a trainee, he signed for another French club, RC Lens of Ligue 1. Foé made his Lens debut on 13 August 1994 in a 2–1 win against Montpellier. During his five seasons at Lens he won the French league title in 1998. In the close season he was targeted by Manchester United, who had a £3 million offer refused. Further negotiations took place, but were curtailed abruptly when Foé sustained a broken leg at Cameroon's pre-World Cup training camp. As a result, he missed the 1998 World Cup. Shortly after his recovery from injury Foé moved to English Premier League club West Ham United, who paid a club record £4.2 million in January 1999. He played 38 league matches for West Ham, scoring one goal.

He moved back to France to play for Olympique Lyonnais in 2000. In that same year, he missed a significant part of the season after suffering from a bout of malaria, but recovered and went on to win the French league Cup in 2001 and the French league title in 2002. He was part of the Cameroon squad in the 2002 World Cup. As in 1994, he played in all of Cameroon's matches, but though the team's performances were improved in comparison to 1994, once again they were eliminated at the group stage, after beating Saudi Arabia, drawing with Ireland and losing to Germany.

Foé made a return to the English Premier League when he was loaned to Manchester City for the 2002–03 season, Manchester City paying a £550,000 fee for the loan. He made his City debut on the opening day of the season in a 3–0 defeat against Leeds United. Foé was a first team regular for Kevin Keegan's team, starting 38 of the club's 41 matches in all competitions. His first goal for the club came against Sunderland at the Stadium of Lightmarker on 9 December 2002, and over the course of the next month he scored a further five goals. In total he scored nine goals for the club, the last of these having particular significance; his second goal in a 3–0 victory against Sunderland on 21 April 2003 was the club's final goal at their Maine Roadmarker stadium.

Death

In June 2003, Foé was part of the Cameroon squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup, a tournament played between continental champions. He played in wins against Brazil and Turkey, and was rested for the match against the United States, with Cameroon having already qualified. On 26 June 2003, Cameroon faced Colombia in the semi-final, held at the Stade de Gerlandmarker in Lyonmarker, Francemarker. In the 72nd minute of the match Foé collapsed in the centre circle, with no other players near him. After attempts to resuscitate him on the pitch, he was stretchered off the field, where he received mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen. Medics spent 45 minutes attempting to restart his heart, and although he was still alive upon arrival at the stadium's medical centre he died shortly afterwards, in spite of the efforts to save his life. A first autopsy did not determine an exact cause of death, but a second autopsy later revealed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and concluded that Foé's death was heart-related.

Foé's death caused a profound shock. Numerous tributes to his joyous personality and infectious humour were expressed in the media. Also Thierry Henry and other players pointed to the sky in tribute to Foé after Henry had opened the scoring against Turkey in France's Confederations Cup semi-final that evening. Many suggestions for ways to honour the life of Marc-Vivien Foé were made after his death: it was suggested that the Confederations Cup and the Stade Gerland could have been renamed after him, and former Manchester City manager Kevin Keegan announced that the club would no longer use the number 23 shirt Foé wore during his successful season there. David Beckham transferred from Manchester United to Real Madrid a week later with one of the reasons he took squad number 23 being in memory of Foé. At Manchester City's ground; the City of Manchester Stadiummarker there is a small memorial to him in the stadium's memorial garden, and on the walls of the players' tunnel are plaques paid for by supporters, with their names, dubbed the Walk of Pride. The first plaque on the wall is for Marc and reads "Marc Vivien Foé - 1975 - 2003". His first club (Racing Club de Lens) has given his name to an avenue near the Félix Bollaert Stadiummarker. Foé was given a state funeral in Cameroon.

Olympique Lyonnais also decided to withdraw the number 17 shirt that Foé wore a year before when he played in Stade de Gerlandmarker with the Lyon team. People in Lyon were shocked as he had received a warm welcome on his return to the stadium. However since the transfer of fellow Cameroonian Jean II Makoun to Lyon, the number 17 shirt will be used by Makoun, who stated on wearing the number: "In memory of Marc, for me and for the whole Cameroon, this will be for something."

Career statistics



Honours

Club

  • 1998, 2002
1994-95 Lens Division 1 15 3
1995-96 19 2
1996-97 28 2
1997-98 18 2
1998-99 5 2

1998-99 West Ham United Premier League 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
1999-00 25 1 0 0 3 0 28 1

2000-01 Olympique Lyonnais Division 1 25 1
2001-02 18 2

2002-03 Manchester City Premier League 35 9 1 0 2 0 38 9
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73||10||1||0||5||0||79||10
201||24||||||||||||


Individual



See also



References

  1. Glanville, The Story of the World Cup, p344


External links




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