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MBABANE- Moneni Pirates attacking midfielder Yeki ‘Madumane’ Khumalo has said he was left shuttered after failing a medical test in Italy.

This is a situation that now needs him to have a meeting with the Eswatini Football Association (EFA) Medical Committee, which could decide his future, should it be found continuing to play is risky. The player shared his misfortune yesterday after returning from Italy, disappointed that he failed a medical due to a heart challenge. The EFA Medical Committee Chairman Doctor Welcome Motsa was also approached about the news and the player is aware of that, as this publication had to establish from him and the Medical Committee if he should play again, starting from today against Nsingizini Hotspurs. Madumane confirmed it was true that he was back in the country after he failed a medical test while in Italy.

“What I can say is that what happened in Italy has killed my spirit going into the last five league games that are left. I had big dreams to play in Europe and this is sad for me. The doctors in Italy saw that my heart has an abnormality in its size, which is different from that of a normal person. My heart rate is beating at the normal rate but the problem with the Italian medical authority league is that you are not allowed to play in their league when you are inmy condition,” he said.The exciting youngster, who has had a great season for his team, further said the doctors in Italy said it was either he had a unique heart or he was sick.

“I was then transferred to another doctor in Italy, who conducted his own tests and he said I was not sick but the Italian laws regarding medical tests were strict and I was told that I will not be able to play in their league having such an abnormality, which has seen me returning back to the country,” the player lamented. The Under-20 squad player went on to say that if he would be stopped from playing football because of what happened in Italy he would be emotionally destroyed. “Football has always been my dream since m childhood and I hope it will not come to that,” he added.


The ‘Sea Robbers’ attacking midfielder was destined to be the first liswati to play in Italy’s Serie C after having impressed  Pontedera FC’s development colours in a game they played against the senior team last Friday, which made the Italian club want to sign him. Meanwhile, EFA Medical Committee Chairman Motsa said it would be early for him to have a say in this sensitive matter because he was yet to get a medical report from Moneni Pirates. “I am yet to get full facts of the story and there will be direct contact with the relevant people because this was a sensitive issue that needed to be handled very well,” he said.

Motsa mentioned that they would get all the information first and take it from there. “We need to respect the privacy of the player but we will talk to him and hear the full report of what happened. We don’t want to create unnecessary hype about this player’s situation but definitely we will advise him after getting all the facts. A player failing a medical test means there is something wrong with him and we can always advice soccer players to listen to doctors’ advices. You cannot just rush to playing without taking necessary precautions,” he added.


The chairman further said he would not want to comment why the player would fail a medical test in Italy but be eligible to play in the MTN Premier League. Generally, he said the player should not play after failing a medical test. This player took the test in a first world country with all the necessary equipment. Locally, medical personnel questioned by our sister newspaper The Times of Eswatini daily edition yesterday, where the initial story was reported, suggested they did not have the equipment to spot such health risks in athletes or players. In football, it is a basic requirement to have a medical test by a qualified doctor to avoid any risks as players have collapsed and died inside the field of play and this continues to happen including in the country’s elite and regional games.

Yeki’s mother, Bongiwe Khumalo also said she was left shocked by the Italy news. “My son has never had any heart related issues,” she said briefly.
The devastating development received by the exciting player leaves a big question mark if he will still be allowed to play in the MTN Premier League after former Malanti Chiefs player Papy Faty, who had his contract terminated in 2016 by Bidvest Wits, due to his well-documented heart issues after doctors were strict that he could not continue playing. This was in neighbouring South Africa (SA). He came to Eswatini, joined Malanti Chiefs but it remains a mystery how he was declared fit here as elite players are also forced to undergo the medical tests. The Burundian player collapsed during an elite league match at Killarney Stadium and died. He had been warned by doctors he could not play football as he would be risking his life.

With Madumane, the danger is that he could also experience same, according to experts, amid him never having a challenge before with his heart, which is said to be bigger than that of a normal human. Faty’s incident occurred in the 2019/20 season, whereby a Malanti official Dumsani Shongwe also collapsed while celebrating and died as well in the following year 2021. Meanwhile, Pirates coach Ikabort Masocha said he was informed that the medical test did not go well for the youngster. I’m not sure if he will play tomorrow (today) but he has already attended pre-training sessions. We are all worried about the situation and we will listen to the team doctors about the way forward,’’ he said.


Masocha went on to say that it would be a pity if the player would be stopped from playing football. “If the condition can be sorted out we will be happy,’’ the coach said. Meanwhile, Moneni Pirates Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mbuso ‘Minister Kingdom’ Hlophe said the player was available to play. “There is now a thin line of how we will have to use the player after his heart condition was discovered to be abnormal in Italy but we have never seen him having issues with his heart. As a club we will also do our check-ups with the help of EFA and we will sit with the player to see what aid we can help provide for him,” he said.

Yeki’s amazing talent was spotted by Mamelodi Sundowns’ scout Esrom Nyandoro during the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Youth Championships, which were staged in the country last October. Meanwhile, Mayibongwe ‘Suarez’ Mabuza of Nsingizini Hotspurs, who is still in Italy is a former Mhlatane High School player in the Schools Sports Ball games. Meanwhile, a medical test examination is a set of tests focused on the investigation of possible injuries, alterations or organic anomalies. Normally, a cardio-respiratory medical examination, muscle mass, body mass, and so on are done first. So, any player seeking for a transfer will have to prove to potential new employers that he is ready to hit the ground running and will not spend huge amounts of time in the treatment room.