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Premier League

Heart condition forces Brighton star Mwepu to retire at the age of 24

12:02 EAT 10/10/2022
Enock Mwepu Brighton 2022
Brighton have announced that Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire at the age of 24 following the diagnosis of a hereditary heart condition.
  • Midfielder has had to hang up his boots
  • Fell ill during the international break
  • Tests uncovered serious cardiac condition

WHAT HAPPENED? The midfielder moved to England from Red Bull Salzburg in summer 2021 and has taken in 27 appearances for the Seagulls, scoring three goals. His career has now been cut dramatically short, with a serious health scare forcing him to hang up his boots. Mwepu was taken ill while on a flight to link up with the Zambia squad during the last break in domestic action, leading to him spending time in hospital before returning to Brighton to undergo cardiac tests.

WHAT THEY SAID: Seagulls chairman Tony Bloom has told the club’s official website: “We are all absolutely devastated for Enock. He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are just thankful he has come through that period, he has seen such a promising career cut short at such a young age. 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.”

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi added: “I am so sorry for Enock. Before I arrived I looked at all the squad, and he was a player I was so excited and looking forward to working with. We will do everything we can to help him.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Tests have shown that Mwepu suffers from a hereditary cardiac issue which manifests itself later in life and can not always be spotted in regular heart screening. As playing sport can make the condition worse, the tough decision to bring his professional career to a close has been taken.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Mwepu released a statement of his own, thanking those who helped him achieve his dream: "A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share," he began. "He stood strong to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level, and by the grace of God he lived his dream by reaching the Premier League. 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 specially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Mwepu will now be following Brighton’s exploits from afar, with a positive start to the 2022-23 campaign seeing them occupy seventh spot in the Premier League table. Whether the Zambian will be handed a backroom role remains to be seen.