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Agyemang Badu: Covid, my brush with death – and seeking justice for my sister

Emmanuel Agyemang Badu is a Ghana midfielder playing for Hellas Verona in Italy – where, like most countries, football is on hold during the coronavirus crisis.

In March, his sister Hagar was shot and killed in the city of Berekum. He has not being able to go back to Ghana to see his family because of the pandemic.

2019 and 2020 have been the toughest years of my life.

I nearly died, I got a lot of injuries – and then I lost my sister in a very painful way.

It’s very difficult for me and my family. The guy who shot my sister is on the run; they haven’t got him yet, because things are going slowly because of this virus.

It was a disaster.

I live alone here in Verona. My girlfriend and my child are not here with me, and I’m in the middle of this pandemic.

I need to thank my family and friends and our team and my agent.

My coach has called me every day to check up on me – as well as the team manager and the president. They have all been wonderful.

Without them it would have been a disaster.

I have been in a room for 34 days. My sister has been killed painfully and I couldn’t go to see what happened.

But this is the job I have chosen. This is how the situation has been.

I just need to abide with it it, take care of myself, be mentally tough and live with it right now – because right now I can’t do anything.

Near-death experience

In August I came close to dying myself.

We were in pre season, everything was going well. It was a week before the league started.

The morning after a game I came to the gym to do some gym work. That night I came home and was struggling to breathe.

I didn’t take it seriously at first – I thought it was tiredness.

In the morning they gave me some painkillers. But the next night it was even worse.

At 2am I called the doctor and fortunately he was awake. He sent a physio who was closer to me and he came – and immediately said, “we need to go to the hospital”.

Eventually they found out that I had a blood clot in my lungs. I had to stop playing football for three to four months.

It was a very dramatic time for me but in certain times like this you need to be strong, thank god I’m back on my feet and doing well now.

It was very serious, I think if I hadn’t got the physio and the doctor to check up on me it would’ve been a disaster.

Helping the home country

Hospital in Kumasi
Badu has donated masks and other supplies to a hospital in Kumasi

I’m in the middle of this pandemic here in Italy, so I know how people are struggling and suffering. This is the time for me to help.

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I bought some masks, gloves and sanitizers for a hospital in Kumasi – the women and children’s ward.

And I played in Berekum for a long time, so I bought some for the hospitals there, and for the police and Muslim community.

And in the village I was born, I donated a lot of stuff to the police and the hospitals.

They’re saying prevention is better than cure, so I wanted them to have these things to be safe and be very careful of this dangerous virus.

The numbers are increasing, so next week I need to send some more stuff to hospitals.

We will keep doing it until we see this virus is gone. I am in the middle of it here and I know how much I’m struggling here so we all need to help and take care of people in Africa.

Living through lockdown

Verona Arena
Verona’s iconic venues are now deserted

It has been a very frustrating season.

From August to December I didn’t do anything. I came back training with the team for 3-4 weeks and started having some very reduced playing time – but then the virus happened.

I can’t do anything about it – I just thank God that I have my life.

I’m doing very well now – no injuries; life is more precious than football so right now we need to take care of ourselves. Be safe and pray that this thing goes fast, so we can all get back to doing what we love to do.

The first 18 days I was in isolation because we played against Sampdoria and unfortunately most of their players tested positive so we needed to be isolated.

After that 18 days, I started going to the small market to get food, but that is the only place you can go.

From there I just come back home. It’s very difficult, but it’s not me alone.

The whole world is in this mess now, so I just need to abide by this, take the precautions and save myself.

A lot of rumours are going around over when the league will restart but we don’t know anything.

They told us to just stay at home and train at home, so that’s the only thing we can do now.

The situation is a dicey one for the big men in charge. It’s not an easy thing.

The first priority is to make sure we are safe from this virus, and then after that you can have football at any time.

Let’s think about the dangerous virus now. Afterwards we can see when football can start.

Emmanuel Agyemang Badu was talking to BBC World Service’s John Bennett

Source: bbc.com

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