Zambia and Brighton Midfielder Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire from active football due to health issues.
His English Premier League club Brighton has confirmed that Mwepu has a hereditary heart problem.
If he continues to play again, Mwepu might get a fatal cardiac event.
Brighton has said that Mwepu was taken ill while on a flight to join up with Zambia during the international break and after a period in hospital in Mali he returned to the club to undergo further cardiac tests and ongoing care.
“These tests have concluded that his illness is due to a hereditary cardiac condition, which manifests later in life and was not previously evident on regular cardiac screening,” the club statement reads in part.
“Sadly this can be exacerbated by playing sport so Enock has been advised that the only option, for the sake of his own safety, is for him to stop playing football.”
Zambia FA has said that they have received the bad news with “profound shock.”
FAZ President Andrew Kamanga is quoted: “We are deeply saddened by the news that Mwepu will no longer be able to play football on the advice of medics.”
“We have kept tabs on his condition since he was admitted to hospital in Mali and airlifted to London and had hoped for better news.
“While it is too soon to talk about the next step, we will walk with him throughout this journey and wish him full recovery. We urge everyone to keep Mwepu and his family in prayers as he recovers from this condition.”
Born January 1 1998, Mwepu started his playing career in NAPSA Stars before moving to Kafue Celtic.
He then went to Europe where he signed for Austria’s Red BUL Salzburg in 2017 where he won three League titles.
He later signing for Brighton and Albion last year and scored two goals in 24 league matches for Brighton.
His goal against Liverpool in a 2-2 draw, was named Brighton’s goal of the season last season.
Mwepu said: “Some dreams, however, come to an end so it is with sadness that I announce the need to hang up my boots because of the medical advice I have received. This is, however, not the end of my involvement with football. I plan to stay involved in some capacity.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported me in my football journey, including my wife and family, my agent 12MAN, the Zambian FA, all my previous clubs, team-mates and coaches and especially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion.”