Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday confirmed that Zambian midfielder Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire at the age of just 24, due to a heart condition.
Mwepu, who joined Brighton at the start of the 2021/22 season from Austrian side Redbull Salzburg, has played six games for The Seagulls this season but has now had to abruptly hang up his boots.
ENOCK MWEPU RETIRE
“Enock Mwepu has been forced to end his playing career following the diagnosis of a hereditary heart condition,” read a statement from the club.
“The condition, which can worsen over time, would put Enock at an extremely high risk of suffering a potentially fatal cardiac event, if he were to continue playing competitive football.
“Enock was taken ill while on a flight to join up with Zambia during the international break and after a period in hospital in Mali he returned to Brighton to undergo further cardiac tests and ongoing care.
“These tests have concluded that his illness is due to a hereditary cardiac condition, which manifests later in life and was not previously evident on regular cardiac screening.
“Sadly this can be exacerbated by playing sport so Enock has been advised that the only option, for the sake of his own safety, is for him to stop playing football.”
The 24-year-old enjoyed a stunning rise from his homeland to Austrian second-division side FC Liefering in July 2017, before earning a move to giants Salzburg in the top flight after just one season.
He then landed his big beak to the Premier League, where he made 24 appearances – his last in a 5-2 win over Leceister City on September 4 earlier this year.
“A boy from a small Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share,” Mwepu said in a statement he released on Monday.
“He stood strong to follow his dream of playing football at the highest level, and by the grace of God he lived his dream by reaching the Premier League.
“Some dreams, however, come to an end so it is with sadness that I announce the need to hang up my boots because of the medical advice I have received. This is, however, not the end of my involvement with football. I plan to stay involved in some capacity.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported me in my football journey, including my wife and family, my agent 12MAN, the Zambian FA, all my previous clubs, team-mates and coaches and especially everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion.”