Muamba faces crucial 24 hours

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba is "critically ill" in intensive care at the heart attack centre of the London Chest Hospital, the club have confirmed.

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Muamba collapsed in the 41st minute of Bolton's FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham tonight, with the match abandoned after the player received treatment on the pitch from paramedics.

He was rushed to hospital and the club have now released a statement which reads: "Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to the heart attack centre at London Chest hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care.

"No further information will be issued at this stage. The club has requested the media to respect his family's privacy at this time."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle accompanied Muamba to the hospital and later emerged to give an update on the player's progress.

He told Sky News: "Fabrice is critically ill. The next 24 hours are going to be absolutely crucial."

He continued: "We've obviously been inundated with people wishing him well and we hope that if everybody can pray strongly tonight that Fabrice is able to recover.

"It's very serious. There's no getting away from that. He's critically ill and God willing he makes it through."

The club last night released a statement which read: "Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Fabrice Muamba has been admitted to the heart attack centre at London Chest hospital where he is currently in a critically ill condition in intensive care.

"No further information will be issued at this stage. The club has requested the media to respect his family's privacy at this time."

The England Under-21 star underwent six minutes of treatment amid worrying scenes at the north London ground.

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He was wearing an oxygen mask and was then rushed to the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green in east London.

Within a second of seeing Muamba fall to the ground, Bolton manager Owen Coyle shouted "he's just collapsed" before running on to the pitch to be alongside his player amid a sombre atmosphere at Tottenham's ground.

Both sets of fans chanted the player's name as he was being treated and Tottenham forward Rafael van der Vaart and Muamba's team-mate Tuncay Sanli both prayed for the former Arsenal player on the pitch. Some fans cried at the sight of seeing a player out cold on the pitch.

Muamba was carried off on a stretcher and referee Howard Webb abandoned the match moments later.

It is understood captain Kevin Davies accompanied Muamba to the hospital along with Coyle.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore sent his organisation's best wishes to Muamba and his family, as well as paying tribute to the medical staff at the ground.

He said: "The thoughts of the Premier League, its clubs and players are with Fabrice Muamba, his family and Bolton Wanderers.

"We would like to praise the players, match officials, coaching staff and medical teams of both clubs at White Hart Lane for their swift actions in attending Fabrice.

"The League would also like to commend the compassion shown by the fans of Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.

"We hope to hear positive news about Fabrice, who is and has been a wonderful ambassador for the English game and the League at Arsenal, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers."

Worried fans and players took to Twitter to give their reaction to Muamba's collapse.

Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte, who came through the Arsenal youth team with Muamba, posted: "I seriously hope my best friend in football is OK. Stay strong bro please please stay strong. God is with you remember that."

Muamba's Bolton team-mate Stuart Holden wrote: "Praying for you Fab. Hope he's OK. Thoughts with him and his family.''

Spurs striker Jermain Defoe said: "Pray for fab god willing he will pull through #PrayForMuamba."

Muamba started his career at Arsenal and spent two years at Birmingham before joining Bolton in 2008.

He was born in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, but has represented England from under-16 to under-21 level.

Football Association chairman David Bernstein said: "On behalf of The FA, I would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Fabrice Muamba and his family this evening.

"Fabrice has played 33 times for England Under-21s, captaining Stuart Pearce's side during this time and is a player, and more importantly, a person we care greatly for."

Muamba broke into the Premier League with Birmingham, with the club on Sunday offering their support for the midfielder.

"The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Fabrice and his family," a club spokesman said.

"He was a very popular member of the club during his time here and everyone at St Andrew's is shocked and saddened to see what happened yesterday [Saturday]."

Former Birmingham chairman David Gold said on Twitter: "Fabrice Muamba is one of the nicest and most respectful young men I ever met in football. I'm thinking of you Fab, get well soon."

A further update on the condition of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba will be released at some point later on Sunday morning.

Although it is a secondary consideration at this particular time, Bolton are due to play a Premier League game at Aston Villa on Tuesday.

However, under the circumstances, it seems impossible that the match will go ahead.



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