Not long ago, goalkeeper Vincent Gona was a darling of Nyasa Big Bullets diehards. However, eight months after sustaining a serious hamstring injury during training, he has been abandoned to fate with his career almost over.
The goalkeeper needs to undergo an operation at Beit Cure in Blantyre which will cost K3.1 million (about $4500).
Big Bullets vice-general secretary Kelvin Moyo confirmed the development, but could not say when the club will send the player for the treatment.
Gona has not been registered by his club, but Moyo said he is still in their plans.
“He [Gona] needs K3.1 million to undergo an operation. We have not registered him due to the injury. But we are still paying his salary. He is still our player,” he said.
Asked when the club plans to have the player operated on, Moyo said he had to ask the team manager.
“These issues are dealt directly by the team manager,” said Moyo.
When asked for comment, the player refused, saying Bullets officials were in a better place to say when he will be operated on.
Gona’s case comes barely a few days after Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) established a Players’ Welfare Fund.
Sulom vice-president Daud Suleman blamed Bullets for not helping their player.
“We would be interested to see his employment terms with the club, otherwise, these are the things that current players should watch out for in their current contracts with their employers. Medical insurance should be a must in any player’s contract,” said Suleman.
Last season Sulom introduced a medical scheme, but the idea was not embraced by clubs, according to Suleman.
“Clubs abandoned it so it did not roll out,” he said.
Players Association of Malawi chairperson Ojukwu Malunga said they were aware of Gona’s predicament.
“We are planning to go and see the player to discuss how we can help him to ensure he undergoes an operation.
“It’s sad that the players should be abandoned just like that when they are injured.
“We will make sure that authorities do something about this. Otherwise, not only is his career over, but his health is in danger as well,” said Malunga.
Hamstring injury is when tendons at the back of the thigh are torn. Though hamstring injuries heal naturally, surgery is needed when there is a complete rupture at the tendons or the bone is jerked away.
The surgery is necessary to mend the severed tendons.