Text size

A Hapoel Be'er Sheva soccer player died minutes after collapsing during a training match against Maccabi Be'er Sheva yesterday.

Chaswe Nsofwa, a 26-year-old striker, formerly played for Zambia's national team. Rescue workers tried to restart his heart for several minutes on the field before taking him to Soroka Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"When we arrived, we found the soccer player lying on the grass," said paramedic Carmel Cohen. "We found his friends trying to help him. We gave him first aid, electric shocks and an external pacemaker, but despite all our efforts, he was declared dead at the hospital."

It was unclear why Nsofwa collapsed, but temperatures on the field approached 40 degrees Celsius with low humidity. Nsofwa, who joined second-division club Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the offseason, scored two goals in his team's 3-0 victory over Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan on Saturday.

"We are stunned; this is a very tough blow for us," said coach Marco Balbul. "The player became well-liked very quickly at the club; he was friendly and professional. This is a deep family tragedy. This was an outstanding player who just this past Shabbat scored two goals, but the professional aspect is not even relevant. The only thing that matters is the human element and that is a very difficult blow.

"The psychologist will speak with the players to find out how they are dealing with the trauma, because the players are simply in complete shock."