Sierra Leone forward Alhaji Kamara says that he will continue playing football despite the sudden death of his brother, Bai Sama Kamara. Bai Sama passed away during an exhibition match in Freetown last month. Worries were higher than average given Kamara’s health history; he was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2015 during a UEFA medical check. “Death always occurs,” Kamara said when asked by the BBC about his feelings. The timing of Kamara’s return is also precarious given the even more recent death of Ivorian midfielder Cheick Tiote, who is rumored to have collapsed from a cardiac issue. “Tiote’s death is sad but it won’t stop me from continuing playing because my heart condition is not life threatening. I’m not having any second thoughts about quitting because I know that I’m OK to play.” He doesn’t believe his condition is related to the death of his brother, citing the fact that a cause of death was never officially determined because no post-mortem was done.
The UEFA called for the check while Kamara was with Swedish club Norrkoping. He had to move to the United States after being advised to stop playing. However, after treatment, American heart specialists gave him a seal of approval to return to the sport, and he subsequently signed with the MLS club DC United. Currently, he is on loan by DC United to the second-tier American club Richmond Kickers. With the assurance of a return to full action, Sierra Leone has invited him back onto the national squad, which will next have a match against Kenya on Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. There is a footnote of confusion, as Kamara said DC United would only sign off on him joining Sierra Leone if the football association would guarantee that a defibrillator would be available at the stadium. However, the FA has not made a public guarantee and declined opportunities to do so.