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Kick to stomach kills Indonesian footballer

Jakarta: A Indonesian striker playing in one of the country's top leagues has died after a goalkeeper kicked him in the stomach during a recent match, an official said Tuesday.

Akli Fairuz
Akli Fairuz 

The death of Akli Fairuz, 27, is a further blow to the reputation of Indonesian football, which has been beset by numerous problems in recent years, from leadership tussles to foreign players dying after complaining of going unpaid.

Fairuz sustained serious injuries after the challenge during a game on May 10 in Banda Aceh, on western Sumatra island, said Mahfudin Nigara from the Indonesian Football Association.

Video footage showed the player, from club Persiraja Banda Aceh, run into the box of the opposing team, PSAP Sigli, to take a shot after the ball rebounded off the goalkeeper.

But the goalkeeper ran out and kicked him in the stomach as he took the shot, knocking him to the ground.

Akli was substituted immediately but continued to watch the match and was only rushed to hospital later when his condition worsened, Nigara said.

"Akli died due to a rupture in his intestine on May 16 from the goalie's kick," he told AFP.

"We are investigating the case, but there's a suspicion that treatment of his injury on the pitch might have been too slow."

He said that the football association had set up a team to investigate the incident.

Persiraja Banda Aceh and PSAP Sigli are in the Liga Indonesia Premier Division, the country's second-tier division.

Indonesian football has been struggling to recover following a long-running feud between two rival federations, which spawned two top-tier divisions. The two sides have now agreed to unite.

The country's football chiefs also came in for criticism over the deaths of a Paraguayan and a Cameroonian playing for Indonesian clubs, who reportedly could not afford medical treatment after going unpaid for months.

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