A photograph of how the match referee’s quick response on Sunday saved SV Mainz 05 of Germany striker, Taiwo Awoniyi from death is now trending on social media and being used as a reference to how sports should be used as a major weapon against racism, megasportsarena.com gathered.
At a point in which protests have been widespread across the world on account of recent murder of two African-Americans by policemen in USA, anti-racism advocate have stressed that it was evocative and quite illustrative seeing a white ref apply first ad that saved Awoniyi’s life.
The scary moment came midway through Sunday’s German Bundesliga game between Mainz and Augsburg whose Nigerian-born defender, Felix Uduokhai was involved in a clash of heads with Awoniyi after only 23 minutes of the encounter, which the stopper’s side later won 1-0 with the game’s only goal coming from a first minute effort by Niederlechsner.
Soon after, though, play was stopped and it took the medics some time to revive Awoniyi, only after the match official moved fast and he expertly prevented the striker from swallowing his tongue on the pitch, then which the player was taken off on a stretcher and rushed to hospital.
Thumbs-up and sweet words are now rolling round for the ref, Marco Fritz, who rushed to apply immediate first aid for Awoniyi and saved the young striker from the life threatening incident, which observers feared could have been another case of death on the football pitch.
Although Awoniyi ended up spending the night in hospital, Mainz’s coach, Achim Beierlorzer disclosed soon after that the lad had recovered and was already recuperating from the scare that almost took his life.
Beierlorzer stated: “We have received the all-clear from the doctors. Awoniyi is conscious again, can remember the things that happened. He had a severe concussion and had to stay in the hospital for observation.”
Uduokhai also expressed worries over the incident and stated afterwards how much he regrets the clash of heads that almost cost the life of the UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup gold medalist, who is currently on loan from Liverpool of England at Mainz, following similar previous spells at FSV Frankfurt of Germany, NEC Nijmegen of Holland as well as KAA Gent and Excel Mouscron of Belgium, but is currently having his best campaign among all.
Uduokhai, who has a Nigerian father and German mother, showed his concerns in a message he sent to the former youth international in hospital, as he stated; “Get well soon #Awoniyi! I hope it’s nothing worse and he’s fine.”
It was also sheer relief all the way for the 22-year-old Awoniyi, who has scored a single goal so far this season, which came on the first weekend of the restart after the forced break caused by coronavirus, and he was playing his fourth consecutive game in Mainz’s starting line-up.
Awoniyi told German publication, Kicker “The last thing I can remember from this scene was how I hit the ball with my head; then I passed out. It was difficult at first to regain consciousness and really wake up. It also took a little while before I could remember everything. But I feel much better now. ”
However, another angle to the story later emerged when a former player-turned-veteran sports writer, youth clubs coach and master of ceremonies, Akeem Busari pointed out that the referee deserves to be commended as well, not only for his quick intervention but also for putting a shame to racism, as another angle of white-helping-black was enacted right there on the pitch.
He hinted that it was a clear illustration that ‘black lives matter,’ which has been the catch phrase being used to carry the message of protests spreading across the world after the murder of Minnesota resident, George Floyd by a white police officer, who rested his knee on the victim’s neck for almost nine minutes, even as the Afro-American kept gasping ‘I can’t breathe.’
Busari stated: “With this picture, you could see that Taiwo Awoniyi was almost gone. God forbid. Thank God for His mercies and of course, our white brother. If only the racist bigots knew that we all are one… Black, Brown, Red and White.”