Former APR midfielder Faty Papy has tragically died of a suspected heart attack after collapsing on pitch three months before Burundi’s Africa Cup of Nations debut.
Papy Faty had recently returned to the national set-up after a three-year hiatus and was hoping to be in their first ever finals squad in Egypt this summer.
However, three months after being warned by doctors over a long-standing heart condition, Faty passed away on Thursday afternoon after collapsing while playing for his club Malanti Chiefs in Swaziland.
Faty collapsed on the field after just 15 minutes before being rushed to hospital where he was declared dead.
Faty was advised by doctors in January to stop playing due to a heart condition but rejected advice and a heart operation, and was let go by his former club at the time.
He duly arrived at Malanti, scoring twice in seven games and earning a call up to the national side; he was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Gabon that booked their AFCON finals spot.
Prior to that fixture, he told KickOff.com that his heart issues were behind him.
"I'm not sick of that [heart] condition anymore."
Burundi, who count amongst their number Stoke City's Saido Berahino and Hibernian's Gael Bigirimana, recently secured a finals spot at this summer's Africa Cup of Nations – which features 24 teams rather than 16 for the first time.
They will face Nigeria, Guinea and Madagascar in Group B.