Wed, 05 Apr 2000

National soccer player Eri Irianto dies after last match

JAKARTA (JP): National soccer player Eri Irianto died early on Monday at Dr. Sutomo General Hospital in Surabaya, hours after playing his last match with his club Persebaya Surabaya. He was 26.

Eri was buried in Desa Kraton public cemetery in his hometown on Monday morning. He is survived by his wife, Friska Putri Nilamsari, whom he just married on March 19.

The club's physician, Herry Siswanto, said that Eri suffered a heart failure. Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) spokesman Eddi Elison said the association mourned Eri's death and had sent secretary-general Tri Goestoro to verify the cause of death.

Eri reportedly suffered breathing difficulty when his club fought PSIM Yogyakarta on Sunday in the Bank Mandiri national soccer league action at Gelora 10 Nopember Stadium in Surabaya.

Herry recalled that in the 44th minute, Eri was replaced by Nova Ariyanto following a complaint that his right temple was hurting after clashing with an unidentified PSIM player.

"We applied a compress to his head and he said he felt better. While he was sitting on the bench, he suddenly suffered difficulty in breathing. We rushed him to the emergency ward of Dr. Sutomo Hospital," Herry was quoted by Antara as saying on Monday.

After hours of medical treatment, Eri was pronounced dead at 1:45 a.m.

In Jakarta, Eddi said Tri would meet with Persebaya's medical team for verification. Eddi said the association wanted to be sure that each player was in top physical condition prior to matches and that they suffered from no diseases which could endanger them or their teammates.

"Eri was diagnosed as suffering from a heart attack, but he might have suffered from another disease which we don't know about," he said.

Born on Jan. 12 in Sidoarjo, East Java, Eri has played soccer since he was 16. His first performance in a national tournament was in the 1990 Suratin Cup junior tournament, where he was elected team captain. He successfully led the East Java team to win the cup.

In 1993, he joined Petrokimia Putra Gresik soccer club. He managed to take the club to the final of the first Indonesian Soccer League (now the Bank Mandiri soccer league). He was picked up as a member of the 1995 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games national team in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Unfortunately in 1997, a knee injury prevented him from competing in the 1997 SEA Games here. He also failed to become a 1999 SEA Games team member.

He had been with Persebaya since the second league season in 1995. (ivy)