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banner Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Ekakia fights back from horror crash
elos elonga-ekakia
Elonga-Ekakia looks poised to resurrect his career
Congo-Kinshasa international Elos Elonga-Ekakia is back in training after a horror car accident that almost cost him his life and his career, and now seems to be resurrecting his career with Belgian glamour club Anderlecht.

The accident six months ago, in which Ekakia's wife was also badly hurt, caused serious neck injuries and damage to the 27-year-old's left knee ligaments.

It was thought at the time that Ekakia would never recover to play again but the striker has now resumed his training with the Brussels-based club, who have just retained their domestic championship.

He is hoping to play again next season after being a regular in the 1999/2000 title win. "I can already train twice a day; in the mornings I'm working on my fitness and in the afternoons with the ball," says Ekakia.

But the former DC Motema Pembe player admits he has suffered a lot of pain during his rehabilitation. "Unimaginable pain," he adds, "But the doctors told me that I would play football again if I was motivated enough.

"There were times when I really felt down and kind of gave up.'

Reporting daily

But Anderlecht later insisted that Ekakia report daily for treatment, just as his team-mates reported daily for training.

Coach Aime Antheunis is also credited with helping Ekakia's fightback to fitness.

"He spoke a lot to me and told me not to give up. I realised I had to work for my wife and kids because all I have is my footballing talents," added Ekakia.

"A lot of Africans in Belgium called me up regularly to give me moral encouragement and that showed me I was not alone.

"At 27, I still have time. And we are likely to play in the Champions League again next season. I feel ready to play again but naturally I've still to find my form," he said.

Ekakia played for the former Zaire at the 1994 African Nations Cup finals in Tunisia but has refused to heed call-ups since because of a dispute over money with federation officials.

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