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Türkiye Earthquake: Bamenda Amputee Football club one month after death of Teneng Elvis Nkam-Vishow

By Bakah Derick 

Friday March 10, players of Bamenda Amputee Football Club are on the second day of training after a month-long break. They returned for training at the Nkwen Baptist School field in Bamenda this time knowing that they will never see their immediate past captain Teneng Elvis Nkam popularly known as Vishow. He was amongst the over 41000 people who died as a result of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Türkiye on Monday 6 February 2023. 
Bamenda Amputee Football Club in Pinyin-Santa after burial of Teneng Elvis Nkam 

For two hours, the players executed to the best of their capacity the instructions of their trainer. Coach Dogo Kinsley Gary trained the team including Nkam Elvis before his departure to Turkey. The trainer still has a vivid picture of the last training session with Teneng Elvis. 
Teneng Elvis with members of Malatya Amputee Football Club in Türkiye 

“The Last training session before he travelled to Yaoundé where he spent some days before travelling out, he gave me something to buy juice though saying he was not financially strong and said sometimes you will not see me again and little did I know he was telling me goodbye that I will never see him again. He offered fruits to his teammates and it was like a kind of farewell.” Coach Dogo said 
Coach Dogo Kinsley during training 

 “I was contacted on Monday morning the same day the earthquake occurred because I am Elvis’ beats friend. I spoke with him every time and so when I was informed that earthquake had occurred in their place I tried reaching him. In fact he wrote to me every day but that day I wrote to him first. I asked him in the message to reply me as soon as he comes online. On that Monday we were only praying that he should be fine. Unfortunately on Thursday, they confirmed to us that he had died. I felt really bad.” Friend and teammate Bukwareh Lawrence narrated how he got the news. 
Bukwareh Lawrence (in red) just after training 

Confirmed dead on Thursday 9 February 2023, followed by a release from the Cameroon Amputee Football Federation (CAMPUTEE), the remains of Vishow arrived the Nsimalen international airport near Yaoundé Tuesday 14 February 2023. Joining government officials from the Ministry of external relations and CAMPUTEE was Bukwareh, the man whose life almost crumbled after he was involved in an accident losing one of his lower limb. He had known Elvis without a limb well before his accident. 
“I knew Elvis for over ten years before I had an accident. When I had an accident, he inspired me to live again. I was inspired by his condition from childhood and so what about me. Everything I do today including this football and even the use of crutches, Elvis taught me so I felt very bad with his death (pause) he was my hope. He was a brother to me and I was hoping on him for many things including boots that I do not have even now. He promised sending them to me by the end of this month (March). ” Bukwareh explained adding that Elvis’ death touches not only him but the entire team.  

“Elvis is a role model in Cameroon amputee football. His playing style inspired many to join the idea of amputee football in Cameroon. Away from the pitch, he taught us to use crutches in both the rainy and dry seasons. He has a strong personality but very humble because wanted things to work well. He listened. I came to this team and I didn’t know how to play football. I had no boots no jersey. He gave me all of these.” Former teammate Agbor Clevis said 
Agbor Clevis Vice captain Bamenda Amputee Football Club speaking after training

Nkam was team captain of Bamenda Amputee Football Club before his departure to Türkiye. This conferred a special responsibility on him thus making his relationship with the staff and players inevitable. Donald Mankwa was his national team Coach and had a particular relationship with him. 

“I didn’t just loss a player, I lost family. He was an uncle to my kids. When the news came everyone at home was heartbroken. I lost the best player I ever had and worked with. He was very inspiring. Always open minded and full of fun. Whatever he gives during training was 100 percent. The talent he had, the hard work, determination, in fact he was just an angel on earth.” Coach Mankwa said 
Coach Donald Mankwa in tears after our interview 

Vishow left his Bamenda teammates in December 2022 after securing a professional contract with Malatya Amputee Football Club in Türkiye. Letting him go was a difficult decision for his national and local trainers who had established a very close relationship with the player. 

“I wanted to keep him as much as I could but one thing he told me when we started this journey in 2019 was that he wanted to play international football and we worked hard to make his dream come true. When the news finally came that he wanted to go I went and saw him off the airport. This was the best news ever and I was really happy. As soon as he arrived, he gave his best in the club. His club was losing but when he came everything changed. Immediately he went we started getting calls that we need more of your players… he was just the best.” The national trainer added 
Coach Donald Mankwa wishes farewell to Teneng Elvis Nkam

“I have known Elvis for a long time… He was an exception of players. He was hard working, he was a true captain and he was a true leader… If you saw during the training session this morning, we are just trying to put some joy, some ambiance in the team which is difficult though but I believe that with God we are going to bounce back. Elvis was like an animator, he was a leader when people are tight-face he brings joy (pause) it is truly a loss.” Coach Dogo Kinsley noted 

To show respect for the player, the entire team was present at the Bamenda regional hospital mortuary on Friday 17 February for the removal of remains. They stopped with him at the family residence in Ntarikon-Mankon Bamenda before moving to his village of origin Pinyin-Santa subdivision. 
Teammates on his grave in Pinyin-Santa subdivision 

Bamenda Amputee Football club declared a month of mourning in honour of their former captain. As training resumes, the hope of many of the players like their staff is to maintain the legacy of the man they all looked up to. 
Teneng Elvis Nkam (in red short) with teammates and the general coordinator during one of their training sessions. 

Like Bukwareh Lawrence, Agbor Clevis and their teammates hope to build the team and make it more competitive in an effort to forge ahead with what their “star player” Teneng Elvis Nkam started. They have all wished him a peaceful rest in the world beyond. 
Teneng Elvis Nkam (in red) and Bukwareh Lawrence 

The team is resuming training in preparation for the African Cup of Nations for Amputees in Egypt. 


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