The 24-year-old fell ill while on a flight to link up with his Zambia team-mates in the international break last month; the condition is so severe that Mwepu would be extremely likely to suffer a cardiac arrest should he continue playing football
Brighton midfielder Enock Mwepu has been forced to retire after being diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition.
The 24-year-old fell ill while on a flight to link up with his Zambia team-mates in the international break last month and returned to Brighton to undergo further cardiac tests after a period in hospital in Mali.
A statement from Brighton on Monday morning revealed that Mwepu would have an extremely high risk of suffering a “fatal cardiac arrest” should he continue playing competitive football.
In a statement announcing his retirement, Mwepu revealed he is still planning to remain in football in some capacity after cutting short his career.
“A small boy from a Zambian township called Chambishi has some news to share,” the midfielder wrote. “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 by boots because of the medical advice I have received. This is not the end of my involvement in football, I plan to stay involved in some capacity.”
“We are all absolutely devastated for Enock,” said Brighton chairman Tony Bloom. “He and his family have had a traumatic few weeks and while we are just thankful he has come through that period, he has seen such a promising career cut short at such a young age.
“As a club we will give him all the love, help and
support we possibly can to make a full recovery, and then as he decides on the next steps in his life.”
Mwepu featured in all six of Brighton’s Premier League games this season before the September international break and played 27 times for the club since joining from Red Bull Salzburg in July 2021. The midfielder also scored six goals in 23 appearances for the Zambian national team.
“I am so sorry for Enock,” Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi said. “Before I arrived I looked at all the squad, and he was a player I was so excited and looking forward to working with. We will do everything we can to help him.”