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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
LuaLua plays down malaria reports
Portsmouth striker Loman LuaLua
Portsmouth striker Lomana LuaLua says he hopes to be back playing sooner than expected after contracting malaria.

The 24-year-old caught the disease on a return to Africa to play for DR Congo, and after having collapsed in training, he was admitted to hospital.

"I am suffering from malaria but it's not as serious as some have suggested," he told the Icons website.

"I am not in solitary confinement and will not be out of action for months, or indeed, weeks."

The former Newcastle star added: "I am up and walking in my hotel room and hope to be back home at the end of the week.

"Then I will be assessed by the club's medical team and hopefully will be back in training before too long."

LuaLua missed Pompey's Carling Cup exit at Gillingham and the Premiership defeat at Bolton with what was initially thought to be a virus.

The 1.8m signing from Newcastle is Pompey's top scorer this season with two goals and his loss is another blow for boss Alain Perrin.

Former Pompey team-mate Yakubu was twice laid low by malaria during his time at Fratton Park - before his 7m close-season move to Middlesbrough.

LuaLua's illness is also a blow for DR Congo coach Claude Le Roy, who was counting on the striker to feature in their final World Cup qualifier against South Africa next weekend.


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