ABU DHABI // Theyab Awana, the talented 21-year-old UAE footballer who became an overnight internet sensation following a back-heeled penalty, died last night after being involved in a car accident.
The Baniyas winger was training with the UAE’s 2014 World Cup squad in Al Ain ahead of the team’s qualifier with South Korea on October 11.
Awana is believed to have died instantly when the car he was driving collided with a lorry when returning to Abu Dhabi with his brother following the training session.
His brother is reported to be in intensive care.
Awana was best remembered for scoring a back-heeled penalty in the UAE’s 6-2 friendly win against Lebanon in July, which became a sensation with 1.25 million hits on YouTube.
The winger was also part of the UAE’s Olympic side, who are bidding for a place at next year’s Olympic Games in London. Awana played in the Emirates’ impressive 0-0 draw against Australia last week.
He had picked up an injury in that match, and was scheduled to travel to Germany to receive treatment, the UAE Football Association confirmed.
The player, part of UAE’s golden generation of talented footballers, was part of the Under 18 side that won the AFC U18 Championship in 2008, and was part of the UAE’s squad at the Under 20 World Cup in Egypt in 2009.
Fans from around the globe have been paying tribute in the comment section below the clip.