Tributes have flooded in for a young Doncaster basketball ace who collapsed and died during a training session.
Danum Eagles star Nana Jumah, aged 28, slumped to the floor in front of shocked team-mates who rushed to his aid just a few moments into a warm-up at the club’s Danum School training base.
The National League Division Four club have cancelled today’s game against Shropshire as a mark of respect as players and officials come to terms with the tragic death.
Coach Bob Martin said: “We will never forget him. He was a great guy, a big guy but a gentle giant with a smile a mile wide. The whole club is in shock.”
Nana and his team-mates were riding high after four straight wins at the start of the season had put them on top of the table and had just started training on Tuesday night when the tragedy unfolded.
Mr Martin added: “We were just doing a basic warm-up and he went down and never got back up. All the players and the paramedics did everything they could. They worked on him for 25 minutes but they couldn’t get him back.”
Nana, a 6ft 7in forward, had just moved into a new flat in Doncaster with his girlfriend.
A statement posted on the club’s Facebook page said: “Nana was a big man with a big smile. Friends that were closest to him have been reaching out with messages of shock and sadness at the sudden loss of a popular young man who was widely known across the basketball community.
“He enjoyed basketball more than anything else and had played in the Doncaster local league for ten years. He recently decided to join the Doncaster Danum Eagles and was happy to be playing alongside some of his best friends who have all remarked that they had never seen him happier.
“All at the club are absolutely devastated by the tragic loss of such a well-loved young man who will be greatly missed by all that knew him.”
Mr Martin added that Nana, a graphic designer, had not complained of feeling unwell before the session but said he had suffered dizzy spells and fainting in the past.
He said: “He loved playing the game and loved to get out there and play. He had just had his best game yet for us and I know he was going to go on and tear up the league this season.
“He had just begun a new life with his girlfriend in a new house. The timing is just so tragic for everyone.”
Mr Martin added that the club were now planning a permanent tribute to Ghana-born Nana and that his portrait would be on display in the gym when the club’s players return to training on Monday.
Fellow player James Brough, 29, said: “I have known him since he was 16. He was a brilliant, friendly guy and always ready to help anyone.
“The team was always close but this will bring us even closer together. We have a purpose to go out and play now and we’re going to go out there and do it for Nana.”
Friends paid tribute to the rising star on social media.
Daniel Wagstaff wrote on Facebook: “Sad news. Only watched him at Saturday in Sheffield. He seemed in good spirits. Thoughts to friends and family.”
Ashleigh Lewis wrote: “Such a great guy, always be a true Eagle. Never Forgotten. R.I.P Nana.”
Caz Burton added: “My thoughts are with all his family and friends and all the Eagles families. You will be sadly missed, fly high like an eagle.”
It is understood a post mortem examination will be held into Mr Jumah’s death.
A spokesman for Doncaster coroner’s office said they had not been notified of the death at this stage.