Former Sofapaka midfielder Wisdom Naya dead

Former Sofapaka midfielder Wisdom Naya having a chat with Tawi All-Star coach Edwin Awange (L) and his fan Willy Opuku at their rural home, Mitume village, Kitale on January 19, 2022. [Martin Ndiema, Standard]

Former Sofapaka midfielder Widsom Naya  is dead.

19-year-old Naya had his left leg amputated in January after being diagnosed with Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, just when he had kick-started his professional football career.

“We are saddened to have lost our former midfielder Wisdom Naya. The youngster has passed on due to soft tissue, Sarcoma. Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Naya,” the club said on Twitter.

What happened to Wisdom?

The teenage football prodigy inspired St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale to the Copa Coca-Cola African Cup of Nations trophy in 2015. He was the star talent as the Solidary Boys beat Nigeria 4-3 on penalties, in a tournament watched by a number of football coaches and scouts.

At the age of 16, Naya was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), consequently earning a professional contract with Kenya Premier League side Sofapaka.

Naya’s problems started after he sustained an injury during training and developed a painful swelling on his left knee.

Wisdom Naya upon his arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi, from India on January 14, 2022. [Courtesy, Standard]

He sought medical attention at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret and went through several Chemotherapy sessions, with the hope of undergoing surgery after the swelling subsided.

However, Naya’s swelling would not stop and doctors suggested the left leg had to be amputated.

“He however had to skip the sixth session that was meant to be the last when doctors realized that instead of improving, the swelling was in fact soaring and they suggested that the leg should be amputated,” Naya’s father, Edward Onyango told The Standard.

Naya’s parents sought opinions from different doctors. First, they visited a Nairobi hospital, then Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret before Naya was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital.

Their efforts to find a medical facility in Kenya that could reverse Naya’s swelling were all in vain. They returned to Mediheal, where a doctor linked them to Spash Hospital in India.

His situation drew the attention of many, with ODM leader Raila Odinga who donating Sh500,000 for his medical support. Deputy President William Ruto, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Saboti MP Caleb Amisi and Tuwan MCA Benard Wambua also made their contributions.  

He travelled to India in December last year, went through a month-long treatment regime, returning to Kenya with his left leg amputated.  

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