Muamba retired from the game on Wednesday on medical advice following his on-field cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie at Tottenham on 17 March. He was given 15 electric shocks on the pitch as paramedics tried to revive him, and doctors later revealed the ex-England Under-21 midfielder’s heart stopped beating for 78 minutes.
Messages of support flowed as Muamba made a remarkable recovery, and Coyle feels the 24-year-old will be steeled by this battle and his experience as a youngster fleeing war-torn Zaire – now the Democratic Republic of Congo where he was born – to be successful in whatever he turns his hand to.
“First and foremost, we’re all disappointed for Fabrice that he can’t return to play the game he loves,” said Coyle. “I think we all recognise how far on his journey he’s come since that night at White Hart Lane and that progress has truly been remarkable. The final part of that, if he’d been able to come back and play at the highest level, it would have been the stuff that dreams are made of. He’s a real battler and he’s overcome many obstacles in his life and he’ll go on to achieve great things – of that I have no doubt.”
Kevin Davies made contact with Muamba after hearing the news yesterday and, like his manager, Bolton’s captain paid tribute to a former team-mate he holds in the highest regard.
“I’m sure he’s disappointed, as we all are, because we were kind of hopeful that we could get him back in the squad,” said the veteran striker. “I texted him yesterday to just to say, look, I believe things happen for a reason and it’s going to be difficult at the time, but he can take the right steps to go where he wants to go.
“He’s a sensible lad, he’s a bright lad so I’m sure the club will be there to support him and all his team-mates as well. When he decides where he wants go we’ll be there to escort him along the road.”