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Football coach praises ‘respectful and talented’ boy as 100s attend funeral after tragic death

today29 June 2022

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A football coach at the funeral of one of his 13-year-old players described the event as ‘so sad’ as Samuel Akwasi was laid to rest. Hundreds of mourners turned out to say goodbye to the “respectful and talented” teenager who died while playing football. Samuel died in May during a match at the Forest Recreation Ground.

Everton Richards, Samuel’s coach at FC Cavaliers, attended the proceedings. “I am very sad and disappointed,” he said.

“It is not the first African funeral that I have attended. It was a big turnout – more than 300 people attended.”

Read more: Nottingham dad pays tribute to ‘legend’ son who dreamed of playing for Forest

The 64-year-old has 25 years’ experience coaching young footballers at FC Cavaliers. He added: “His mates also attended, some of them were not able to because they had exams. The church was full. Usually, when there is someone of his age who died there would be a big turnout. There were even people who did not know him who attended to pay their respects. It was so sad, absolutely devastating.”

Friends and family attended the Baptist Church on Gregory Boulevard on Wednesday (June 29) at 10am to grieve their loss. Mourners carried the white coffin inside the church for the service.

Samuel was playing for FC Cavaliers U13s against WBCY FC Rossoneri, and had scored the first goal of the match before collapsing on the pitch on May 7 at around noon at the Forest Recreation Ground.

The mourners also attended a brief lying in state at Forest Fields Recreation Ground at 11am before a proceeding to the Highwood Cemetery in Bulwell at 12pm. Samuel’s dad Tubman Akwasi previously told Nottinghamshire Live that due to African tradition, “parents should never bury their children so we will not attend at the cemetery”.

Samuel had successfully scored at 25 minutes against WBCY FC Rossoneri at the Forest Recreation Ground before the tragedy unfolded. Dvarne Edwards, a sports assistant at the Forest Sports Zone, a separate sports facility at The Forest with artificial pitches, said he “ran over straight away” after he saw the boy collapsed on the grass, near a tree.

Mr Edwards explained the boy received treatment and that an ambulance arrived within minutes. Despite all the efforts, Samuel tragically died.

He leaves behind his parents, siblings and a football team which “loved and respected him”. Mr Richards added: “We cannot imagine going back on the football pitch without Sam being there. His mates will never see him again, we will never hear his voice again.

“It is a tragedy. He was loved by so many people. There was an awful amount of cars on Highbury Vale when we went to the cemetery. The traffic was congested for some time.

“He was such a talented footballer, and he was so respectful. And that is credit to his parents who raised him.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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