By Ernest Fakude | KickOff.com |
Former Bidvest Wits midfielder Papy Faty passed away after collapsing on the pitch in Eswatini on Thursday afternoon.
The 28-year-old collapsed during a league match between Malanti Chiefs and Green Mamba at the Killarney Stadium in Piggs Peak outside Mbabane.
The Burundi international, who was released from his contract with Wits a few seasons ago due to heart problems, collapsed on the field of play after only 15 minutes on the pitch.
He was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead.
Faty’s death has been confirmed by one of the senior officials at Malanti Chiefs but he declined to reveal more information before the player’s next of kin is informed.
Faty recently helped Burundi qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Faty’s teammates at Malanti Chiefs have described the late footballer as a leader and true role model during his short stint with the club.
Times of Swaziland reporter Sanele Jele who was covering the match said;
“It was in the 24th minute when he started to hold his chest. He then collapsed and was taken outside the pitch for first aid treatment,” Jele tells KickOff.com.
“There was no ambulance at the stadium and they used the coach’s car to transfer him to the hospital. However he died while he was still on his way to hospital. The game had to stop after the message was relayed that he had passed on and most of his teammates couldn’t control their tears after hearing the sad news.”
Malanti Chiefs player Sfiso Makhubu described Faty as more than a teammate.
“He was more than a teammate. He was a leader both on and off the field. Personally to me I have lost a brother. He always believed in me and all the youngsters in the team looked up to him,” said Makhubu.
“As someone that played professional football at the highest level he was always ready to give advice and encouragement. I spoke to him on WhatsApp a day before the game and said it was important that we get the three points.
“He had trust and belief in me as a player and always told me that one day I will make it in football. It’s very sad my brother considering that he just passed away when we were playing a soccer match with him.”
Malawi international Binwell Katiji struggled to hold back his tears when speaking about Faty.
“Eish… it’s too bad. I don’t know what to say. Only God knows. Papy was a very good man, always happy and liked to have fun. It’s too bad…”
Efforts to get hold of Malanti Chiefs boss Robert Gumede proved futile. He was reported to be travelling from South Africa to Eswatini this morning following the news.