Francis Kone was given the FIFA Fair Play award for saving the life of an opponent after an on-field collision.
Togolese striker Francis Kone was honoured by FIFA at the Best FIFA Football Awards which held at Palladium theatre in London on Monday, October 23.
Kone was given a Fair Player award at the ceremony on Monday night for saving the life of another player in a Czech league game.
In a league game between Bohemians 1905 Prague and Slovacko in February 2017, Bohemians goalkeeper Martin Berkovec collided with his teammate, defender Daniel Krch and laid on the floor motionless afterwards.
Kone was first to rush to attend to Berkovec and used his fingers to move the goalkeeper’s tongue and stop him from suffocating.
His quick thinking saved the life of the goalkeeper who later took to his Facebook to thank the Togolese.
“I would like to thank Francis Kone for rescue and emergency… I’m glad for the relief and thanks again!!!” Berkovec wrote on Facebook after the game.
Although he was not present at the Best FIFA Football Awards, Kone was given the FIFA Fair Play award for his heroic act.
“I can’t stand there, watching someone suffocate, without doing something,” Kone told FIFA’s official website.
Before that incident, Kone had been a target of racist chants from the crowd throughout the game, but the chants quickly turned to applauds.
After the incident in February, Kone claimed that was the fourth time he had saved the life of a player.
According to the player, one of those situations happened in Thailand when Kone was 18.
He was a PTT Rayong and Muangthong United player when one of his teammates collapsed in the gym after a head injury.
Kone acted quickly again to pull the tongue of his teammate from his throat. He as bitten that day too.
The second time was during an exhibition game in Togo after a player clashed heads with the goalkeeper and fell on the back of his neck.
He was playing in Al-Mussanah in Oman at that time and was in Togo for a short break.
“That time I really struggled to get the tongue out because his body had tensed up – he was completely unconscious – and people came to help me, including medics, holding him while I pushed two fingers into his mouth to try and grab his tongue to slide it out,” he told the UK Guardian.
The third time was in Africa again in 2014.
Kone’s professional football career has taken him to several countries including Oman where he player for Al-Mussanah Club for one year. He then moved to Portugal to play for Sporting Clube Olhanense for two years.
In 2015 he joined Hungarian side Budapest Honvéd FC before moving to Czech to play for FC Slovácko. He has since joined FC Zbrojovka Brno, another club in Czech.
A Togo international, Kone was born in Bondoukou in the north of Ivory Coast and raised outside Abidjan.
He qualifies to play for Togo through his mother.