Africa Cup of Nations winner admitted to hospital

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FOOTBALL Africa Cup of Nations winner admitted to hospital

Festus Chuma 18:04 - 22.02.2024

A footballer has been hospitalized with malaria post-Africa Cup of Nations win, joining others affected, including a tragic loss.

Fiorentina forward Christian Kouame has been admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with malaria, the Serie A club has confirmed. 

The 26-year-old Ivorian, who played a pivotal role in his national team's recent Africa Cup of Nations victory, tested positive for the disease after experiencing illness on Tuesday night.

"The player has been hospitalized for treatment, and his condition will be re-assessed over the coming days," Fiorentina stated in a released statement.

Kouame, who made four appearances for Ivory Coast during their triumphant campaign, including a crucial role in the final against Nigeria, has been a key figure for Fiorentina this season, featuring 22 times and finding the net once.

Kouame's case is not an isolated incident within the football community, as he joins a growing list of players affected by malaria. 

Moussa Diarra of Toulouse also tested positive for the illness during the Africa Cup of Nations.

In a separate but equally tragic development, Zambia women's striker Norin Betani tragically lost her life to malaria shortly after joining her national team in camp. 

Betani, who had recently joined her national team's camp ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers against Ghana, fell ill shortly after her arrival and tragically lost her life despite medical attention.

"Betani died on Wednesday morning at the University Teaching Hospital after being diagnosed with suspected malaria," confirmed the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) in a solemn statement.

FAZ General Secretary Reuben Kamanga expressed the association's deep sorrow, stating, "Betani was taken to the hospital nearest to the team camp, which is Kanyama Level One hospital, and FAZ engaged the family at every stage."

"The patient was referred to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) on Monday and was under medical care until her demise. FAZ secretariat staff, family members, and her club (Indeni Roses) worked closely during the player’s hospitalization," Kamanga added.

Meanwhile, in another case related to the Africa Cup of Nations, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Yves Bissouma was allowed to play for Mali despite contracting malaria.

 Mali coach Eric Chelle confirmed Bissouma's illness after his team's defeat to Kouame's Ivory Coast.

Malaria, although not contagious, is a serious disease transmitted through mosquito bites. 

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