KOCHI: THE coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown have been particularly hard on Ghanaian footballer Stephen Kwazi Menza who came to Kerala last December to try his luck in the sevens circuit. Diagnosed with a life-threatening disease in March, the 26-year-old is now in a critical condition. While his local club — Jaya Bakery, Thrissur, for whom he played as a defender — is taking care of him according to medical advice, Menza is aghast that flight services remain suspended. For he dearly wishes that he return home and pursue treatment there.
According to Jaya Bakery team manager Rafeeq P B, the Ghanaian is currently staying at a flat in Kecheri, Thrissur, with five other African teammates. “We are giving him medicines and food based on the advice of the doctor. However, given his critical condition, it is better for him to go back to his family,” Rafeeq said. The manager has also been in regular contact with Menza’s brother and sister in Ghana who are also aware of his situation.
The plight of the footballer was highlighted by sports commentator Shaiju Damodaran through social media. With the assistance of his club and the All Kerala Sevens Football Association, Menza had consulted a doctor at the Lisie Hospital in Kochi recently. He had also undergone treatment at the Government Medical College in Thrissur and two other private hospitals.
According to an official, there are around 60 footballers from other countries contracted to play for various clubs in the state. “Overseas players, who mostly come from African countries like Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana to the state, are going through a difficult phase because of a lack of games. Many have also been unable to go home due to coronavirus fears,” the official said.