Bearing in mind the tough life most local footballers go through after retiring, former Flames defender Elvis Kafoteka has opted to invest the little he gets in business rather than pay for removal of metals inserted in his fractured arm.
He needs over K200 000 (about $434) to remove the orthopaedic implants that anchor the fractured bones and to facilitate healing of his arm. He suffered an open fracture in December 2010, during the Flames game against Ivory Coast, but he said he had chosen to live with the materials in his arm to avoid upsetting his financial life.
Doctors advised him the metals had to be removed after two years, but he has had them for four years now. It is this injury that forced him to hang his boots at Super League giants Moyale Barracks FC a few months ago.
Kafoteka received his treatment at Beit Cure International Hospital. According to the hospital’s consultant orthopaedic surgeon, John Cashman, one of the biggest challenges of living with metal plates longer than prescribed is that another fracture around the implant complicates further treatment.
However, Cashman could not comment further on Kafoteka’s condition, saying that would be unprofessional.
“The patient is welcome to make an appointment to see me and discuss the matter, but I cannot discuss his case with a third party without his expressed consent,” he said.
In spite of that, 35-year-old Kafoteka told Weekend Nation that he recently opted to buy a new minibus as an investment into his future.
“I dread living as a pauper after my football career; hence my concentration on growing my business [as opposed to having the metals removed]. I have a family to look after and I would be down if my business collapses,” he said.
However, Kafoteka feels betrayed by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for failing to compensate him after he was injured on national duty.
“I have twice withdrawn lawsuits against FAM hoping that they would sort out my medical bills without strings attached, but it has not worked. Nevertheless, life has to go on; I need to make ends meet for my family,” said Kafoteka, now a born-again.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said he already advised Kafoteka on what steps to take to be compensated.
Meanwhile, Football Players Association of Malawi (Fpam) chairperson Ojukwu Malunga has pleaded with FAM to give back to the player for the contributions he made to the national team.
While applauding Kafoteka for withdrawing the case from the courts, Malunga urged well-wishers to assist him.
“We could have done something to help our member but we are as well financially-crippled,” said Malunga.
Kafoteka told Weekend Nation that he withdrew the case from the courts because he was wasting a lot of money and time pursuing it.
The injury, which Kafoteka is yet to be compensated for, denied him a professional prospect at at Zambian side Zesco in 2010.
The ex-Flames star, who now lives in Mzuzu, also played for Hong Kong Rangers in China and Rwanda’s APR, but was let down by the recurrence of the injury.
He tried to reclaim his form at Moyale Barracks FC last season, but quit after realising that he could aggravate his injury.
But, Kafoteka, father of two daughters, said he has no hard feelings against anyone at FAM because he has endured numerous frustrations since he started active football at Premier Division side Impala FC in Lilongwe, from where he earned his first Flames call up in 1999.
“I missed a lucrative deal with India First Division side Mahindra because Escom United (now Kabula United) did not want me to go as a free agent.
“Even when I offered to bail myself out with K2.5 million from the K9.6 million the Indian club wanted to pay me for a three-year deal, they still did not let me go.
“At Blue Eagles, the coach sent me away without giving me reasons. They even evicted me from the house I used to stay in. Without a strong heart, you cannot survive in Malawi football,” he said.
Kafoteka, who comes from Kasiya in the area of Traditional Authority Khongoni in Lilongwe, joined his first Super League side, Big Bullets, in 1999 before switching to Civo United the following season. He had stints with Blue Eagles and Escom United.
He was encouraged to pursue a career in football by his maternal grandfather, the late Chenda Mkandawire.