Wed, Jun 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Player, 30, dies after training collapse in China

Reuters, BEIJING

Cheick Tiote plays for Newcastle United on Jan. 7 at St James’ Park in Newcastle, England.

Photo: Reuters

Former Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote died in hospital on Monday after collapsing during a training session, his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises said.

The Chinese second flight club confirmed his death at the age of 30 on Weibo, saying the former Twente Enschede and Newcastle United midfielder had “fainted without any warning” during training.

“He was rushed to hospital immediately. However, all revival measures proved ineffective and he died at about 7pm on June 5, 2017. The club has already contacted his family,” it said.

“Since joining the team, he had made an outstanding contribution to the club and won praise from the club, the coaching team and his team mates with his superb skills and professionalism. Beijing BG football club expresses our deepest sorrow following Mr Tiote’s passing,” the club said.

Former teammates and managers took to social media to mourn the loss of the latest high-profile African player to have collapsed and died while playing football.

Newcastle United, where Tiote played for seven years before moving to China, said the club was “devastated” at the news, while manager Rafa Benitez spoke of his “sadness” at the death of “a true professional ... and above all, a great man.”

Former England manager Steve McLaren, who coached Tiote at Twente and Newcastle, spoke of Tiote’s competitiveness.

“I knew him first as a young player at Twente. He was the toughest player I’ve ever seen,” he said. “On the field and in training he was such a competitor. He wanted to win every game, kick every player and win every tackle.”

“He was a winner. I just can’t believe it. Some days we would have to pull him out of training because he was such a ferocious competitor, such a winner. He was a warrior and could play too,” McLaren said.

Tiote grew up playing football barefoot on the streets of his hometown of Yamoussoukro before moving to Europe with Belgian club Anderlecht in 2005.

He moved to Twente in 2008 and was part of the side which won the Eredivisie title in 2010. He played at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup and was a member of the Ivory Coast squad which won the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

A combative defensive midfielder, Tiote’s more than 130 appearances for Newcastle featured many yellow cards, but only one goal.

Tiote’s move to Beijing earlier this year was his second attempt to cash in on the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League after holding talks with Shanghai Shenhua last year.

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