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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 14:27 GMT
Leone Star Bangura stays positive
Simon Reeves
BBC Sport, Stockholm

Gbessay Bangura
Gbessay Bangura now and in his prime playing football in Sweden
Former Sierra Leone defender Gbessay Bangura is fighting for his life after being struck down by an incurable disease.

Bangura suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

The former Leone Star is now confined to a wheelchair, has no proper use of his hands and legs and requires round-the clock attention.

Bangura, who played for the Leone Stars at the 1996 African Nations Cup in South Africa, has been told by doctors in Sweden that his condition is irreversible.

Despite his condition, the 33-year-old told BBC Sport that he has no intention of giving up on life.

He said: "The doctors say they can't help me because there's no medicine for this disease.

"My situation is not good at all. I'm not feeling good, but I believe in God and will keep fighting to live because I have faith in God.

"However, it hurts that all the friends I had have now abandoned me because of my illness."

Gbessay was among a batch of players from the West African country who went to ply their trade in Europe in the 1990s.

The defender moved to Sweden to play for lower division side Spangas.

After a good show at the 1996 Nations Cup, Bangura was spotted by Italian giants Inter Milan who signed and then loaned him to Lugarno of Switzerland.

He moved back to Sweden to play for Degefors after seven months in the Swiss league.

When Degefors were relegated in 1998, he joined Elfsborg in a three-year deal.

A knee injury ended his career with Elfsborg before he was diagnosed with ALS.


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