Abel Dhaira, Uganda Goalkeeper, Dies from Cancer at 28

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2016

BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 26:  Detail of a match ball during the International Friendly match between Germany and England at Olympiastadion on March 26, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Uganda goalkeeper Abel Dhaira has died from cancer at the age of 28. Dr. Bernard Ogwel of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) confirmed the news on Sunday.

Ogwel relayed the news to BBC Sport's Andrew Jackson Oryada: "It is really sad for his family and Uganda as a country."  

One-time national team captain Andrew Mwesigwa also offered his condolences, per BBC Sport: "On a sad note we have lost our brother Abel Dhaira who has just died a few minutes back."

With the player in critical condition, residents of Dhaira's hometown, Jinja, said prayers and had been fundraising to aid his treatment, according to Donald Kiirya of New Vision.

Dhaira died in Iceland, where he had been playing his club football for IBV Vestmannaeyjar of the Icelandic Premier League before being diagnosed.

Oryada noted how Dhaira had spent time in the hospital in his homeland at the start of the year, but he eventually went back to Iceland.

IBV Vestmannaeyjar had arranged a testimonial match for the stopper, who also played for URA FC and Express FC in the Ugandan Premier League. As an international goalkeeper, Dhaira led his country to victory in 2012's Senior Challenge Cup.