Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Indonesian ’keeper sorry over death of forward he kicked

AFP, JAKARTA

An Indonesian goalkeeper yesterday said he was “truly sorry” after a striker he kicked in the stomach during a match in one of the country’s top leagues died.

Agus Rohman said he had received death threats after Akli Fairuz, 27, died, but insisted he was not solely to blame and suggested the player’s medical treatment was inadequate.

Rohman said that when he heard the news, he “couldn’t stop crying.”

“I have never in my life intended to hurt or kill my opponents. I regretted what happened, why did he have to die from my kick? I am truly sorry to Akli, to his family, to everyone,” the 34-year-old added.

Fairuz’s death, several days after the May 10 match, was a further blow to Indonesian soccer, which has been beset by numerous problems in recent years, from leadership tussles to foreign players dying after complaining of going unpaid.

The incident happened during a match between Rohman’s side, PSAP Sigli, and Fairuz’s Persiraja in the city of Banda Aceh on western Sumatra island. The clubs play in the Liga Indonesia Premier Division, the country’s second-tier league.

Video footage showed Fairuz run into the box of the opposing team to take a shot after the ball rebounded off Rohman.

However, the goalkeeper ran out and kicked him in the stomach as he took the shot, knocking him to the ground. Fairuz died on May 16 in hospital, with officials saying he suffered a ruptured intestine.

However Rohman insisted the kick was “not violent” and “unavoidable,” and said the striker continued to watch the game from the sidelines before later being taken to hospital.

“I will not accept it if they push all the blame onto me,” he said, adding that the striker’s condition seemed to worsen after he had surgery.

The goalkeeper was due later yesterday to meet officials from the Indonesian Football Association, which has launched an investigation into the death.

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