Shock as young footballer dies in his sleep

Mwiinga Mubanga. Picture: contributed
Mwiinga Mubanga. Picture: contributed
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Friends of a keen 20-year-old footballer who died suddenly in his sleep have told of their “huge shock”.

Mwiinga Mubanga, who was born in Zambia and moved to Edinburgh as a child, was discovered in his bed by his sister at his Gorgie home last month.

The cause of death is not known but it is believed he suffered some sort of seizure. Mwiinga’s friends say the nightclub worker was in good health before his death and regularly played football at a good level.

Best friend Warren Don, 19, who met Mwiinga when they were S1 pupils at Boroughmuir High, said: “He was the happiest, cheeriest guy you could ever meet – no-one had a bad word to say about him.

“One thing I will always remember about him is his smile. He was a really popular guy.”

Mwiinga, who worked at Shanghai nightclub in George Street, was a computing student at Napier University and had spent time studying at Stevenson College.
The keen footballer played alongside Warren at Boroughmuir High, Lochend Youth FC and Cavalry Park Boys Club.

Warren, from Causewayside, said dealing with his chum’s passing has been heartbreaking.

He said today: “Before he died, Mwiinga’s sister had talked about moving back to Zambia but he had said he wanted to stay in Edinburgh because all his friends are here, he saw it as his home.

“When I found out what happened it was easily the worst thing I have ever had to go through – three weeks on it’s still a huge shock. It’s been really hard not knowing exactly how he died, I just know that it’s thought he suffered some kind of a seizure.

“Two days before the service, all of the boys went along to see his body in an open coffin to say our last farewells.

“Looking sharply dressed in his best suit, Mwiinga looked brilliant as always and as hard as it was to stand over him and say goodbye, we felt privileged to have been able to have seen our buddy for one last time.”

A Facebook page set up in Mwiinga’s memory has been inundated with tributes.

A tribute from his former team-mates read: “He was always willing and eager to listen to advice and he took any criticism on the chin. He encouraged his team-mates and was truly a team player, although he did often try and beat the same player on more than one occasion!

“He was always bubbly and smiling both on and off the pitch and although he will be sadly missed it was a joy and a privilege to have known him.”

His friends are now raising money to cover the cost of sending his body back home. It is estimated to have cost his family around £6000 to repatriate him. Some £2000 was raised at his memorial service. More is expected to be raised at a five-a-side tournament this weekend.

Warren added: “It cost a lot of money to send his body home, and we just wanted to support his family.”