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Tough week for Justin Donawa as he undergoes surgery, deals with loss

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Darlington footballers Justin Donawa and Osagi Bascome have a picture taken with Shaun Goater who showed up at Altrincham’s ground in September 2019 to watch them play. Bermudians Larry Dunlop and Lawrence Trott were also at the match. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Justin Donawa had surgery in London on his fractured ankle on Monday and is now resting at home in Birmingham after what has been a difficult week for the Solihull Moors and Bermuda footballer.

Shaun Goater and Larry Dunlop speak with Darlington pair Justin Donawa and Osagi Bascome after their team's match at Altrincham in September 2019. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Just over a week ago Donawa, a former long jumper, was mourning the death of Mike Sharpe, a past Olympic sprinter and ex-triple jumper. Then came his own personal setback last Tuesday when he suffered a fractured distal fibula in the 0-0 draw away to Eastleigh in a National League Premier match.

More bad news was to follow on the weekend when word quickly reached him that Osagi Bascome, his former Darlington and Bermuda team-mate, was stabbed to death early Saturday morning.

It has been a tough time for Donawa emotionally, explained his father, Jay, who has spoken to him regularly, including after the surgery.

He said Justin, who is expected to be sidelined for three to four months, was too distraught to speak about the loss of his team-mate and friend.

“The injury is something he has accepted as being a part of being an athlete, but the part of Osagi’s loss he cannot right now just put into words,” Jay Donawa explained. “He just wants to reflect a bit without making any comments at this time.

“The conversation we did have about it, him losing his friend, the hurt that he feels for Osagi’s parents Carla and Herbie and the whole family. Justin is a very compassionate person and he said he is hurting and trying to put everything into context.”

Jay said it was Bascome, who was already at the club, who helped Justin settle in at Darlington in 2019 as the pair became good friends.

“Osagi was very instrumental in Justin’s transition over to Darlington, he helped Justin with some of the logistical things when Justin went over for the trial,” Donawa explained.

“They also travelled quite a bit together for Bermuda and were roommates. I got to meet him as well and my heart just aches for the family.

“When I first heard about it, my first thought was to reach out to Justin, he knew before I called. It’s been difficult for him to put into context.

“I saw the evolution of their friendship, not just two Bermudians playing on the same team. They also became good friends. The rivalry of Somerset versus St George’s would come into the friendly banter but at the end of the day you get on as good mates.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to the Bascome and Foggo families and the whole St George’s community. If you read some of the social media posts, he touched a lot of people and for me I was very impressed with my interactions with him.

“He was just a really, really nice kid, very respectful. I am gutted for the whole family and just cried that whole morning. I just wish them peace and comfort.”

Justin Donawa will be out for several weeks, though he may recover in time to play again this season before the campaign ends in May.

“The surgery went really well and now the clock has started on his recovery,” Jay Donawa explained. “They gave him three to four months to return, but everybody is different in how they recover from injury.

“He’ll wear a cast for two weeks and then transition into a boot and the process will go on. As time goes on he will increase the weight he can put on it.”

Donawa was accompanied by club officials to London for the surgery, travelling back to Birmingham later that night.

News of Bascome’s murder quickly reached Bristol, England where he spent some time after having trials with Bristol City in late 2016 and signing for them in February 2017. He also spent time at the youth set-ups at Aston Villa, Stoke City, Valencia and Levante in Spain.

An article appeared in the Bristol Post on the weekend as they noted how Bascome impressed then Robins under-23s coach Jamie McAllister during his three trial matches for the under-23s. He scored once in a victory over Ipswich Town, before going straight into the first team set-up for the remainder of the season.

After a delay in getting international clearance, Bascome signed in February 2017, with McAllister saying at the time: “He's been a ball of energy from the moment he arrived at the club. He's integrated well with the group and has great enthusiasm – he just loves playing football.

"He's got good awareness and vision. He can play up top in a two and also as a number ten.“

Bascome signed for the rest of the season, with the option for another year, but was released in May 2017.

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Published December 23, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 20, 2022 at 9:28 pm)

Tough week for Justin Donawa as he undergoes surgery, deals with loss

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