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8:39pm UK, Sunday March 18, 2012
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has said he is hoping for a “happy outcome” for Fabrice Muamba, who continues to fight for his life after his heart stopped for nearly two hours when he collapsed on the pitch.
The hospital where the footballer is being treated said he is still in “critical condition” in intensive care, nearly 24 hours after his collapse.
It took nearly two hours to get Muamba’s heart beating on its own following the shocking incident during an FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur.
Speaking outside the London Heart Hospital where the 23-year-old is being treated, Coyle, who was one of the first on the pitch after Muamba’s collapse, said: “We certainly hope that he comes through.
“It’s great to be talented at football but it is more important to be a genuinely nice man and Fabrice is that.
“Our concern is Fabrice and Fabrice only and that’s what all our energy is going into – hopefully a happy outcome.”
Earlier a joint statement issued by the hospital and Bolton Wanderers confirmed that Muamba had suffered a heart attack on the pitch at 6.11pm.
It told how medics fought to save him for an extended time on the field and had to continue the battle for his life on the way to hospital. Muamba’s heart finally started working when he reached the London Chest Hospital at 8pm.
He has since been anaesthetised in intensive care and doctors say he will remain that way for at least 24 hours.
Fabrice Muamba recently got engaged to his girlfriend
A small group of relatives, including Muamba’s brother, visited him at the hospital on Sunday.
Muamba’s friend, Arsenal defender Johan Djourou, and Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who was in tears yesterday on the pitch seeing Muamba lying on the floor, both visited today as well.
Defoe stayed for just 15 minutes and was too upset to comment as he left.
Djourou was seen walking out of the hospital grounds later, after avoiding the waiting camera crews as he left the building.
The game, at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane stadium, was being watched live by millions of television viewers around the world on Saturday evening.
Together with 36,000 fans in the ground, they watched in horror as medics struggled to bring Muamba round.
Muamba collapsed suddenly as the game was approaching half time.
The crowd fell silent as Mr Coyle ran on to the pitch to see what had happened. He could be heard shouting: “He just collapsed!”
The player was carried off the pitch on a stretcher
Shocked players looked on in disbelief as the former England Under 21 star was treated with a defibrillator for several minutes before being stretchered off wearing an oxygen mask.
World Cup referee Howard Webb abandoned the game with the score at 1-1.
As the message was relayed around the stadium fans applauded and chanted Muamba’s name before solemnly filing out of the stadium.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “The thoughts of the Premier League, its clubs and players are with Fabrice Muamba, his family and Bolton Wanderers.
“We would like to praise the players, match officials, coaching staff and medical teams of both clubs at White Hart Lane for their swift actions in attending Fabrice.
“The league would also like to commend the compassion shown by the fans of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.”
The club’s chairman Phil Gartside also paid tribute to those at the match.
“The support that we had yesterday from Tottenham and our own fans was fantastic – the staff, the fans, the players and the officials at the game – it was unbelievable,” he said.
Tonight, Mr Gartside released a statement on the club website saying: “I know Fabrice’s family have been overwhelmed by the huge outpouring of kindness, from people visiting the hospital to leave cards to those sending messages and emails.”
The chairman extended his thanks to hospital staff and the “global footballing
“The staff at the London Chest Hospital have been nothing short of exceptional and I would like to thank them all at this on-going critical time.”
He applauded Wanderers’ “unbelievable” fans for their support.
He added: “I ask for everybody to keep Fabrice in their prayers and thoughts.”
Bolton’s match against Aston Villa on Wednesday has been postponed.
Muamba was born in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and came to Britain as a political refugee. He has also played for Arsenal and Birmingham City.
On his Twitter account he describes himself as the “proud dad” of Joshua Jeremiah. He became engaged to girlfriend Shauna Magunda on Valentine’s Day.
Before the match Muamba took to Twitter to express his excitement over the tie.
Using the username @fmuamba, he tweeted: “Just reach white hart lane. #COYW lets have it now.”
Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe covers his face in horror
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who played with Muamba at Bolton, wrote: “Hope Muamba is okay. Thoughts with him.”
Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand wrote: “Come on Fabrice Muamba, praying for you.”
England striker Wayne Rooney wrote: “Hope fabrice muamba is ok. Praying for him and his family. Still in shock.”
Muamba’s team-mate Stuart Holden, added: “Still praying for Fab, the guy is a fighter on and off the field. We love you bro.”
Tottenham forward Rafael Van Der Vaart, who was on the pitch when Muamba collapsed, wrote on Twitter: “Terrible what happened with Muamba during the game. We’re all praying for him.”
Former football manager and pundit David Pleat, who was watching the game, said Muamba’s arms were seen to “jerk”, which he described as “terribly traumatic” and “eerie”.
He said Muamba, who played for England all the way through Under 16s to Under 21s, was a good athlete.
Mr Pleat said players were tested rigorously for heart and other problems frequently, adding: “But these things can be genetic and you never know.
“The only thing that makes us sit up and think tonight is there are many things more important than football and what’s happened tonight is far more important than football.”
Read more on this story:
:: See pictures below of Muamba being treated on the pitch.