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Hareesh Gangadharan (33) collapsed on the field while playing for his Green Island club side at Sunnyvale on Saturday, after suffering what is now understood to have been a heart attack.
Despite the frantic efforts of players, spectators and emergency services he could not be revived, and died on the field.
He leaves behind wife Nisha Hareesh, and their 3-year-old daughter, Gowri, along with friends and colleagues baffled by his death, seemingly out of the blue.
According to Hindu custom, Mr Hareesh, a Malayali from the southern Indian state of Kerala, must be repatriated and buried, rather than cremated, as his father is still alive.
Dunedin Malayali Association head Roy Augustine said about $21,000 in donations had now been received, above the $19,000 quoted by an undertaker to return the body to India.
However, a further $14,000 (based on a $16,000 quote for return flights for four people at short notice) was now needed to get Nisha, Gowri and two others to Mr Hareesh's home city of Kochi.
Mr Augustine said members of the Malayali community had contributed generously, as had many at Dunedin Hospital, where Nisha works as an intensive care nurse, and many of Mr Hareesh's team-mates from his second grade club side "Super Chunkz".
"Everyone has been very helpful. Nisha's intensive care colleagues did such a good job."
Nisha was doing well in the circumstances, he said.
They were having issues verifying a page with Givealittle.co.nz but were still accepting donations to a Dunedin Malayali Association account.
• Account - 02 0912 0341553 000 (BNZ)
• Reference - DMA support