UAE winger Theyab Awana dies in car accident
The United Arab Emirates winger Theyab Awana, who became an internet sensation when he scored a back-heeled penalty in the summer, has died following a car accident.
The country’s football federation confirmed that the 21-year-old, who also played for the UAE club Bani Yas, was killed while travelling back from training in Al Ain to Abu Dhabi.
“I feel the loss of one of my family,” the UAE’s football president Mohammed Khalfan al-Rumaithi said. “I felt bitter tragedy. May the almighty bless him and may he rest in eternal peace.”
Awana was considered a rising star in the UAE team, but his biggest claim to fame was the back-heeled penalty he scored in a 6-2 win over Lebanon in July, for which he was reprimanded by the then coach Srecko Katanec.
The Asian Football Confederation expressed its sympathy in a statement: “On behalf of AFC and the Asian football family, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the UAE football community, family and friends of Awana,” the acting president Zhang Jilong said. “His demise at such a young age is a great loss to Asian and UAE football in particular.”
The roads in the United Arab Emirates are among the region’s most dangerous. A goalkeeper for the Under-23 side was badly injured in a car crash last year.
From the Guardian