A special medical plane will arrive in Yaounde tomorrow to fly out Rigobert Song, the former captain of the national men’s football team, who was taken into emergency care here after becoming unconscious.
Doctors at the Yaounde Central Hospital said the former footballer, who became coach of Cameroon’s “intermediate” football team in retirement, suffered a “cerebrovascular accident”, the medical term for a stroke.
Song’s condition was unclear Monday. The decision to fly him for “proper treatment” in Paris suggested that doctors felt his condition was still critical.
He became an iconic figure of Cameroon football. When he retired in 2010, Song was spotting a cream white dreadlocks and beards that gave him the looks of a Lion, the nickname of Cameroon’s football teams.
He is considered one of Cameroon’s center backs of all times and the Indomitable Lions have struggled to find a suitable replacement, according to sports analysts.
His illness came as a surprise. He was last seen publicly in Yaounde on 18 September at the draws of the 2016 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.
A family member said he was taken to hospital unconscious, the BBC reported.
Fans have expressed wishes for his of a speedy recovery and shown support to the legend on social media by using his photo as profile images.
Even in retirement, Song was still a respected member of the country’s football community. For many, he was an embodiment of the Indomitable Lion’s “fighting spirit”.
He played more than 300 times for Cameroon during an international career that went from 1993 to 2010.