Abel Mwakilama’s sudden death at the tender under 20 age was so shocking to us all. The social media was awash with messages of sadness and total regret because most football fans had faith that very soon the lad would have made a difference to the senior Flames.
One Facebook post that touched me was from Dyson Kondeni Musa, who said: “I became interested in watching him play in the elite league for Chitipa United. I only watched Abel playing two games but I noted of a brilliant player.
“Civo vs Chitipa United at Civo Stadium; Chitipa were trailing 4-0 by half time. Abel (jersey 7) was introduced as a second half substitute. His runs and speed changed the whole complexion of the game. Chitipa scored two quick goals [and] even though the game ended 4-2 in favour of Civo, the coming in of Abel was what changed the game.
“I watched him play for the Flames U-20 team at BNS [against Swaziland] just three weeks ago. He was tightly marked [and] coach Mwase pulled him out in the 69th minute,” wrote Musa.
The game against Swaziland ended 0-0 but in the second leg the two teams drew 1-1 and Malawi qualified on the away goal rule. Mwakilama was supposed to join the team but news reaching Malawi was that his Portuguese club refused to release him, and we thought it was probably because he was so very useful in their game plan for that weekend.
Only to hear of his sudden death, succumbing to celebral malaria. This death should wake us up. Not just for players going abroad but for any of us. Let’s be very well prepared when we travel abroad where they fail to treat malaria.
We take malaria virus with us to Western countries and as we know how fast the disease can destroy our bodies by the time they diagnose that it’s malaria, they fail to treat it.
Here at home, the first thing the hospitals do before you see a doctor is to have yourself checked for malaria and other related ailments and that’s a precautionary measure that perhaps our Government’s Ministry of Health can try to impress their Western counterparts to practise.
I know of some Western countries who send their doctors on attachments to African countries to learn of tropical diseases. Our Ministry of Health should encourage such visits where the beneficial is mutual.
When such young players win deals to go play in the Western countries or anywhere else, they should undergo intensive medical checkup here. I know they go under rigorous medical at those clubs but I suspect they don’t bother checking on malaria.
Our clubs too should be sending players to hospitals and clinics for regular checkups to avoid such incidents. Every player they sign on should undergo a medical first. Club medics should keep a medical file on each player.
Let’s be vigilant on our players who have been entrusted in our care by their parents.
I cry for Abel and I sign off by quoting the following ODE by Steve Moloseni which was posted on social media:
“The talent you were
The shining light you were
The Star you are
The memories you have left
Abel you are not able now…your demise is a loss.
The talent is gone..the heavens has won a player when the transfer window is closed.
You will be missed lad.
REST IN PEACE ABEL.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :