The sudden death of a popular Russian Premier League coach has mystified his colleagues and friends, with Russia national team boss Valeri Karpin and Zenit striker Artem Dzyuba among those to voice their shock.
Igor Gamula, 61, had joint Ukrainian and Russian citizenship and most recently worked for top-flight side Rostov, who he also managed in 2014.
Details on Gamula’s death are unclear, with friend Roman Oreshchuk telling RIA Novosti that there is “no specific information” after the former midfielder’s daughter “sounded the alarm first”.
“Now the police and doctors are working [on it],” said Oreshchuk, speculating on whether the cause could have been hypoglycemic shock. “Everything happened suddenly.”
Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Igor Gamula, who has sadly passed away.
The former Rostov manager was 61 years old, his cause of death is yet unknown https://t.co/aAznR9A9t4
— Russian Football News (@RusFootballNews) December 8, 2021
Former Spartak Moscow player Maxim Kalinichenko remarked that similar deaths have been happening “very often lately”.
“Appreciate every minute of your life – love it as [he] loved it,” he said. “[This was] too early and very unexpected. Rest in peace, coach.”
A fellow manager, Stanislav Stanislavsky, revealed that he had spoken to Gamula just days ago.
“As far as I know, he was not sick,” he said. “This is definitely not [related to] coronavirus. [It was] most likely a heart [problem].”
Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of former Rostov manager Igor Gamula, who has sadly passed away.
The thoughts of everyone at Spartak are with Rostov and all those connected to Mr. Gamula
— FC Spartak Moscow (@fcsm_eng) December 8, 2021
Russia boss Valeri Karpin said: “I can’t believe it, [it’s] just a shock. It cannot be. We will miss you very much. Sincere condolences to family and friends.”
Russia legend and the Russian Premier League’s all-time top scorer Artem Dzyuba spoke of “blessed memories” with Gamula.
“We will miss this amazingly charismatic person,” added the Zenit St. Petersburg striker.
Former Ukraine coach Alexander Zavarov offered his condolences to Gamula’s family and friends. “He died very young,” Zavarov told Championat of “a good friend and man” who was “always cheerful”.
“Friends informed me of his death. I sit broken – the whole family is broken. We communicated very well… a month ago we talked on the phone, nothing foreshadowed trouble. We have such an unpredictable life.”
Gamula began his coaching career in 1992 at Krystal Kherson, where he finished his playing days.
From 2001 to 2006, he was at Chernomorets Novorossiysk and frequently took on an assistant role and the head coach’s job before heading to Latvia where he oversaw Daugava Daugavpils and Dinaburg.
In 2009, he returned to Ukraine where he managed Zakarpattia Uzhhorod until 2011.
He became a part of the Rostov fold to manage the youth team, the first team and work as a scout.