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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 04:30 GMT 05:30 UK
Foe ill before match
Foe never regained consciousness
The wife of Marc-Vivien Foe has revealed that her husband had been ill in the build-up to Cameroon's Confederations Cup match with Colombia.

And Cameroon manager Winfried Schafer has confirmed he wanted to substitute Foe just minutes before his collapse during Thursday's match. He died despite frantic attempts to revive him.

Marie-Louise Foe said the 28-year-old midfielder had been struggling with dysentery but was desperate to play at the home of his French club Lyon.

"He should not have been playing at all. He had dysentery for two or three days. He also had gastric problems and he knew he probably wasn't well enough to play," said Mrs Foe.

She was in the stadium and watched as the father of three slumped to the ground before being stretchered lifeless from the field.

"When he collapsed, I never thought he would die. I assumed he'd get up or recover on the sidelines. The family is in utter shock," said Mrs Foe, whose husband saw a doctor on the day of the match.

"He desperately wanted to play for his country in his adopted home-town of Lyon. But doctors should have stopped him."

Cameroon manager Winfried Schafer has revealed he tried to take off Foe shortly before he collapsed.

Cameroon manager Winfried Schafer
Schafer wanted to replace Foe
Schafer said the player had been "slowing down" but insisted he was alright to continue playing.

"It was a couple of minutes later when he collapsed," said Schafer, quoted in The Guardian newspaper.

"Marco refused to come off - he said he felt okay and he wanted to stay on the pitch to make sure we got to the final.

"Both myself and the doctor thought he seemed to have run out of energy and was slowing down.

"We sent him a message that we wanted to bring him off and send on a substitute to give us some fresh legs because we were coming under increasing pressure, but he said no."

The cause of Foe's death is still not clear but the results of a post-mortem are expected within the next few days.

An initial autopsy on Foe, carried out in Lyon, was inconclusive as to the cause of death but ruled out a stroke.

"It is surely cardiac, but we need to make further anatomical and toxicological tests. But one can't draw conclusions", said public prosecutor Xavier Richaud.

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