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Remembering Former Burundi International Papy Faty Two Years On From His Tragic Death

On this day back in 2019, the Burundian football fraternity woke up to the news that star midfielder Papy Faty was no more.

The man who was darling to many football-loving fans in the country symbolized stardom whenever he donned the Intamba m’Urugamba jersey.

Many would recall him for his contribution to Burundi’s qualification to the appearance in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations-which was first to the country’s history.

There was no doubt that Faty was very instrumental in ensuring that the national side made it to the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt. In their last day of the qualifiers the midfielder played a big role as Burundi held Gabon into a 1-1 draw at Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium, Bujumbura.

However, Faty never made it to Cairo as he collapsed and died during an eSwatini Premier League match between Malanti Chiefs and Green Mamba at the Killarney Stadium in Piggs Peak outside Mbabane, two months before Afcon finals.

An autopsy found that Faty had  been suffering from a heart condition which was traced back to 2015 while playing for South Africa Premier Soccer League side Bidvest Wits (now Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC).

Born in Bujumbura, Faty started his career at AS Inter Star after just turning 17-years-old before making a move to Turkey where he joined Trabzonspor in year 2008.

In 2009, Faty was loaned to MVV Maastritcht before being released by his mother club in 2012 to join Bidvest Wits  in South Africa.

The loan move came just few months after he was featured by Sports Magazine as one of the Ten African Players to watch in 2009.

At Bidvest, he collapsed on the field twice in a period of nine months, once in a friendly and once in the South Africa Premier Soccer League, and it was thought that issues with his heart would force him into hanging up his boots.

However, Faty left Wits and landed a deal with then South Africa National First Division Side Real Kings in 2018 on a two year deal, which was later terminated months later.

In February 2019, he resurfaced in e-Swatini after allegedly being cleared by his doctors to play football in the Mountain Kingdom, as he remained adamant that he will not be retiring despite his ongoing health issues.

Faty represented Burundi for eleven years, having made his debut as a substitute in a 0–0 draw with the Seychelles national team on 1 June 2008.

He went on and made 27 more appearances and scored three goals for the Swallows after featuring for clubs in Burundi, Turkey, Netherlands, South Africa and Eswatini.

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