Football family unite behind Muamba

Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba

First published in National Sport © by

The football world remains united in hope for stricken Bolton player Fabrice Muamba.

As it was revealed Muamba will spend at least another 24 hours in intensive care after medical staff took two hours to get the 23-year-old's heart beating on its own following his collapse during an FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham on Saturday, former team-mate Gary Cahill led the tributes.

Cahill was a team-mate of Muamba's for two-and-a-half years before leaving Bolton for Chelsea in January. The bond between the pair remains strong and after scoring in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Leicester at Stamford Bridge, Cahill revealed a T-shirt with the message 'Pray 4 Muamba' printed on it.

It is a message that has been repeated by so many as concern for Muamba's condition continued. Supporters at Wolves' home game with Manchester United combined in a minute's applause before kick-off.

A detailed statement, released jointly by Bolton and the London Chest Hospital on Sunday lunchtime, brought good news in the sense that Muamba's heart was working again.

"Fabrice Muamba remains in a critical condition in intensive care in the Heart Attack Centre at The London Chest Hospital," read the statement. "He was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening after collapsing at White Hart Lane, where he sustained a cardiac arrest during the FA Cup Quarter Final against Tottenham Hotspur.

"Fabrice received prolonged resuscitation at the ground and en route to The London Chest Hospital, where his heart eventually started working. As is normal medical practice, Fabrice remains anaesthetised in intensive care and will be for at least 24 hours. His condition continues to be closely monitored by the cardiac specialists at the hospital."

As a steady stream of supporters headed to the Reebok Stadium to lay flowers and offer their support to Muamba, the former Arsenal and Birmingham player was visited by members of his family on Sunday morning and Bolton officials and players, including manager Owen Coyle, and other famous footballing names later.

"From our end, and on behalf of the family, we want to say a big thanks to everyone," said Coyle on Sunday. "We have been inundated by good messages, everyone praying for Fabrice which is very important. It has been a real source of strength for the family. We know how difficult a time it is for everyone.

"I can't really quantify it (the support). It has been incredible, not just from the football world, from everyone.

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