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10 years ago today, football lost Marc-Vivien Foe

The former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder collapsed on the pitch during a Confederations Cup game before passing away.

Foe during his final Cameroon game. Credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

ON 26 JUNE 2003, Cameroon took on Colombia in a Confederations Cup semi-final in Lyon's Stade de Gerland.

It was looking good for the African champions when Pius Ndiefi put them in front after nine minutes. However, tragedy was to strike in the second half.

Midfielder Marc-Vivien Foe, at the time on the books at Lyon but having just spent the season on loan at Manchester City, collapsed unchallenged in the 72th minute.

As medics rushed onto the pitch, it was clear that this wasn't a run-of-the-mill injury. Foe, who had suffered a cardiac arrest, was given oxygen and stretchered off for further treatment but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and, sadly, he died aged just 28.

The incident left the footballing world in an state of mourning. In the final, the Cameroon players paid tribute to their fallen team-mate before the first whistle while the France players joined them in a huddle for a minute's silence.

The Cameroon players hold a giant picture in the final against France. Credit: Turksporfoto/Turksporfoto/Press Association Images

Both sets of players take part in a minute's silence. Credit: Turksporfoto/Turksporfoto/Press Association Images

At club level too, the tough-tackling midfielder had left his mark.

Having played much of his early career in France with Lens, Foe arrived in the Premier League in 1999 when Harry Redknapp signed him for £4.2million despite interest from Manchester United. A year later he returned to Ligue 1 with Lyon but arrived for a second stint in English football when Manchester City brought him in on loan in 2002.

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City fans took to him immediately and he became a regular in Kevin Keegan's side that season. He also holds the honour of scoring the last ever goal for the club at their old home Maine Road - during a 3-0 win over Sunderland a couple of months prior to his untimely death.

City have since retired his number 23 shirt and Keegan recently spoke glowingly of the man on their official website:

It was a privilege to work with Marco. You perhaps had to get to know him a bit to fully enjoy his personality - certainly his dress sense - but he was universally liked. Everyone knows what a wonderful player he was but more than that he was a fine human being.

“I will never forget the day I blasted him for not looking me in the eye when I was telling him something and the knock on the door that followed a few minutes later when he informed that where he came from if you respected someone you didn't look them in the eye!

“He had the ability to make us all smile and feel better. We miss him."

Manchester City fans remember Foe during a Premier League fixture with West Ham back in April. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Wrestling Paul Scholes off the ball during a Manchester derby. Credit: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

City fans pay tribute outside Maine Road. Credit: Phil Noble/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Signing for West Ham with Paolo Di Canio in 1999. Credit: Tom Honan/EMPICS Sport

Getting instructions from Harry Redknapp. Credit: Tom Hevezi/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Battling with Ireland's Matty Holland in the 2002 World Cup. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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