CAF launches medical check-ups for AFCON teams
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has opened a new chapter in ensuring a clean sport, by introducing medical check-ups of all teams competing in the African Cup of Nations finals tournaments. The arrangement will start with all the 16- teams that will compete at the 2017 AFCON tournament in Gabon next month.
The Pre-Competition Medical Assessment (PCMA) came as a FIFA directive following the tragic death of Cameroonian player Marc-Vivien Foe, who collapsed and died on the field during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup game against Colombia at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland in France. The midfielder was jogging along mildly, with no-one close to him and nothing seemed wrong, yet suddenly he collapsed to the ground in the centre circle at the 73rd minute of the game.
Medical staff tried to resuscitate the player on the pitch, before carrying him on a stretcher to the bowels of the stadium, where attempts to restart his heart failed and the man known affectionately by his team-mates as ‘Marco’ was pronounced dead. That was 13 years ago, on June 26, 2003.
The new system, known as the PCMA information (Pre Competition Medical Assessment), constitutes an integral check-up of the player to determine whether they are fit or not to participate in the competition. The Medical Information system of CAF is integrated into the Content Management System (CMS), launched in January 2014, during the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.
The CAF system will help to have a clear idea of the health of players across Africa. It is also an opportunity offered to medical officers to have access to information and records regarding injuries sustained during CAF competitions.