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Tributes paid to teen who died during soccer match

THE tragic Dublin teen who collapsed and died at a weekend match was said to be "so talented" he would have grown up to become a professional footballer.

Shetemi Ayetigbo's devastated family were last night being comforted in their Donabate home.

The 16-year-old - affectionately known as 'Shay' by his team-mates - collapsed during a break in play while his team, Belvedere FC, were playing St Kevin's Boys FC in a schoolboy league tie on Sunday afternoon.

Despite efforts to revive him he couldn't be saved.

Among the visitors to the family home last night was Richard Oyewole (53), founder of the African-Irish Sports Association. "I was at the hospital yesterday where they brought Shetemi," he said.


"He was a very dedicated guy. He loved football so much.

"His mother took him to training three times a week. His family were very proud of him. He was so talented he would have become a professional footballer. It's a terrible loss," he added.

Shetemi's older brother and his aunt said they were too upset to speak about their loved one last night.

Leaders from the church that the family attends on Dublin's Long Mile Road were also at the house to lend their support.

They offered moving tributes to the young lad. Shepard of the Celestial Church of Christ, Paul Enahoro - who has known the family for 25 years - said that Shetemi was "a great example to young people everywhere".

"He brought honour to his school and to his community. His dream was to become a great footballer," he said.

He explained that the Nigerian family came to Ireland around 17 years ago.

Shetemi grew up in Donabate, living in the Ballisk Court estate for many years with his older and younger brothers Walle and Victor and their mother Lola. They moved to the College Court area around two years ago.

Another church leader, Superior Evangelist Michael Afolalu, said: "Our church has 200 to 250 members in Ireland and I've known Shetemi's mother for 20 years. Shetemi was a very good boy. He didn't depend on others to do things for him."

"Shetemi always looked to the future. He was a lovely boy who was very helpful at home. Everybody admired him. His name, Shetemi, means 'God has done mine'," he said.

The church leaders said that funeral arrangements had yet to be finalised.

Earlier yesterday one friend who had known Shetemi since he was a small boy said he always had a smile on his face.

"It sounds like a cliche, but I never saw him without a smile. He was just the happiest person I knew," said Sergey Kurapov (20).

"We would always play football together - me, Shetemi and his older brother. We would play in the car park or on the local green. Shetemi loved football, it was his life," he added.

Belvedere FC released an official statement after the tragedy.

"All our members are in deep shock, our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this tragic time."