Brighton midfielder Enock Mwepu retired from soccer because of a hereditary heart condition, the Premier League club said Monday.
The 24-year-old fell ill last month while he was on a flight to join the Zambia national team squad in Mali and was treated in a hospital there. He later underwent several medical tests in England.
“The condition, which can worsen over time, would put Enock at an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event, if he were to continue playing competitive football,” Brighton said in a statement.
The Premier League club said that previous cardiac screening, which is a routine test for all top-level soccer players, did not detect the health problem.
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“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock,” Brighton chairman Tony Bloom said. “As a club we will give him all the love, help and support we possibly can to make a full recovery, and then as he decides on the next steps in his life.”
Who is Enock Mwepu?
Zambian professional soccer player Enock Mwepu began with Kafue Celtic in Lusaka before being identified with the 2013 Airtel Rising Stars.
In June 2017, Mwepu joined Red Bull Salzburg and was loaned out to Salzburg’s feeder club Liefering. Mwepu scored his first international goal for Zambia in an AFCON Qualifier against Algeria on September 2, 2017, at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka
He moved to join the Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion in 2021. He won four Austrian league titles with Salzburg. He won four Austrian league titles with Salzburg. He joined Brighton last year.
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The year 2022 started slow for Mwepu due to injury and illness, resulting in limited playing time.
His younger brother Francisco Mwepu is also a professional soccer player.