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Abel Mwakilama dies in Portugal

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Abel Mwakilama, the gem of a striker on whose tender shoulders Malawi football placed hope on, died yesterday in Portugal, his Mozambique-based Manager, Venancio Patrick, has confirmed.

“He got sick the day before yesterday [Wednesday] and he complained of headache. At 8 pm, yesterday [Thursday], he was taken to hospital and it was concluded that he was suffering from celebral malaria.

“Doctors tried their best and even transferred him to one of the biggest hospitals in Portugal, but he died. It happened so fast. He never complained of malaria but I suspect that he contracted it when he came to Malawi two weeks ago [to feature for the under-20 national team]. There is no malaria in Europe and I guess, he did not go for a check up,” Patrick said in a telephone interview.

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, Friday confirmed the death of the 18-year-old player who was plying his trade with Portuguese fourth-tier league side, Sporting Clube de Esmoriz.

“It is so shocking…so sad. Let me verify with his agent and club. I have talked to Richard Mbulu [another Portugal-based Malawian striker] and he has also confirmed this,” Gunda said, his voice chocking with emotions.

Fam had earlier suggested that Mwakilama failed to report for tomorrow’s Junior Flames’ Africa Cup of Nations preliminary round second-leg match in Swaziland because he was pre-occupied.

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Mwakilama single-handedly steered Chitipa United to the TNM Super League in 2017 after scoring over 30 goals in the Premier Division campaign for 2016.

He also represented the Junior Flames at the 2016 Cosafa Championship in South Africa. In Portugal, he scored seven goals in five games for Esmoriz.

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