A Burundi international footballer has tragically died three months before his country’s Africa Cup of Nations debut.
Papy Faty had recently returned to the national set-up after a three-year absence and was hoping to be in their first ever finals squad in Egypt this summer.
However, three months after being warned by doctors over a long-standing heart condition, Faty passed away on Thursday afternoon after collapsing while playing for club side Malanti Chiefs in Swaziland on Thursday afternoon.
Faty collapsed on the field after just 15 minutes before being rushed to hospital where he was declared dead.
The midfielder had ignored doctors who warned him not to play football because of the condition of his heart.
He duly arrived at Malanti, scoring twice in seven games and earning a call up to the national side; he was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Gabon that booked their AFCON finals spot.
Prior to that fixture, in an interview with KickOff.com he revealed that his heart issues were behind him.
“I’m not sick of that [heart] condition anymore.
“And because it’s the last game and we need one point to qualify so they need experienced players and players that have been there before to fight for the nation.
“That’s why the federation and coach called me and asked about my situation. I told them how it is.”
Burundi, who counts amongst their number Stoke City’s Saido Berahino and Hibernian’s Gael Bigirimana, recently secured a finals spot at this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations – which features 24 teams rather than 16 for the first time.
They will face Nigeria, Guinea, and Madagascar in Group B.