Kamara vows to continue with his career

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Africa, Freetown
DC United Forward Alhaji Kamara (right)
DC United Forward Alhaji Kamara (right) fights for the ball during an MLS game against Philadelphia Union

Sierra Leone forward Alhaji Kamara has vowed to carry on playing despite the recent death of his elder brother Bai Sama Kamara.

Bai Sama died last month after collapsing during a non-league football game in Freetown.

But Kamara, who was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2015, has told the BBC that he is not at all worried - saying that "death always occurs."

The United States-based Leone Star's heart problem came to light during a compulsory medical check-up by European football's governing body, Uefa.

He was on the books of Swedish club Norrkoping at the time but moved to the US after being advised to stop playing football.

American heart specialists gave him the all-clear to resume his career and he subsequently signed for MLS club, DC United.

Speaking as the football world mourns the death of Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote in China, Kamara said his heart condition is no cause for concern.

He said: "Tiote's death is sad but it won't stop me from continuing playing because my heart condition is not life-threatening.

"I'm not having any second thoughts about quitting because I know that I'm okay to play.

"Death always occurs, so one can't stop playing football when he hears of the death of another footballer.

"My brother died on his way to hospital after collapsing during a football match but the cause of the death was never determined as there was no post-mortem."

Kamara, currently on loan to US second tier league side Richmond Kickers, was surprisingly picked by new Leone Stars coach John Keister for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya in Freetown on Saturday.

But he has not travelled to Freetown because of a demand by his parent club that there be a defibrillator at the stadium during the match.

Kamara said DC United insisted on having a defibrillator at the stadium as a precautionary measure but claims no response was forthcoming from the Sierra Leone FA (SLFA).

The SLFA's President, Isha Johansen has responded to Kamara's claims.

"The FA cannot afford to guarantee the prompt and professional medical attention, God forbid, should he have an incident on the pitch," Johansen said.

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