x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Theyab Awana's grieving father in emotional plea to drivers

Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi has asked motorists everywhere not to use mobile devices such as BlackBerry smartphones while driving.

Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi, left, has asked motorists not to use mobile devices such as BlackBerry smartphones while driving following the death of his talented footballer son.
Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi, left, has asked motorists not to use mobile devices such as BlackBerry smartphones while driving following the death of his talented footballer son.
The father of international footballer Theyab Awana, who died on Sunday when the car he was driving crashed into a stationary lorry on the Eastern Road near Sheikh Zayed Bridge, has urged motorists not to use BlackBerry smartphones or other mobile devices while driving.
Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi said yesterday that he believes his son, who gained international stardom for scoring with a back-heel penalty against Lebanon in July, was sending messages on his BlackBerry when he hit the lorry. Although police would not confirm Awana was sending messages when the accident happened, they said that appeared to be the case.
Mr Al Mosabi said he believed that his son, who was 21, was not watching the road at the time of the accident.
"There were no skid marks on the road, and Theyab's friend who was driving behind him said he didn't see Theyab brake before crashing into the lorry," Mr Al Mosabi said. "We are not certain that he was using his BlackBerry, but that's what everything indicates. Too many people are texting while driving, so I ask all drivers not to use their mobile phones or other electronics while driving."
Mr Al Mosabi was speaking from the funeral tent that had been erected in Al Rahba to receive well-wishers. He spoke of the last time he and his son spoke, a short time before he was killed.
"Theyab was in Al Ain to see the national team's doctor to get advice on the shoulder he injured when playing in Australia," Mr Al Mosabi said.
"He called me afterwards and said the team doctor told him he should get treated in Germany. Then he told me he was going to see his teammates at the Baniyas Sports Club. Then he was going to Abu Dhabi for an X-ray. Then he was going to come home [to Al Rahba]. That was the last time I spoke to him."
Fawaz Awana Al Mosabi, 22, Awana's brother, was the last family member to see Awana, less than two hours before he died.
"I was just about to leave the Baniyas club when I heard Theyab's voice, and went to him," Fawaz said. "He told me that the doctor said he should get his shoulder treated in Germany, and that he was going to go and take me with him. We did everything together. He was the brother I was closest to because we are only a year apart in age.
"I was about to leave for a funeral in my sports gear and asked Theyab if I could borrow the kandura he was wearing. We exchanged clothes and he left in [teammate] Hamdan Al Kamali's car. Following him was his best friend, Ahmad Mohammed, in his BMW. He saw the crash."
Shortly after parting ways at the sports club, Fawaz said, he received a call from Mohammed, telling him that his brother had had an accident, and asking him to come to the crash scene.
"Ahmad called and said that Theyab had an accident and that I should come to where the supposed crash happened," Fawaz said. "Now Ahmad is a practical joker, he is known for it. I thought he was joking and asked him, 'Come to do what?' and hung up on him.
"He called me again and told me he was serious and that I should come. I heard in his voice that he was serious, and my heart just dropped," he said. "I drove towards the scene, still not entirely believing him, especially that I didn't see any traffic backed up or anything to indicate an accident up ahead. Then I saw the flashing lights up in the distance."
When Fawaz arrived on the scene, he ran past police to the Audi Q7 that Awana had been driving, and opened the passenger door. He saw his brother dead.
"I wish I hadn't done that," he said.
When he saw the body of his dead brother Fawaz fainted.
"The paramedics couldn't do anything for Theyab because he was already dead," Awana's father, said. "But they came to help Fawaz and took him to the hospital. He didn't wake up until after four hours."
The following day, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed joined thousands of grieving fans, footballers from four national teams and the Al Mosabi family to bury Awana at the Baniyas Graveyard, in Baniyas.
Fawaz was once again overcome by grief, and collapsed behind Sheikh Saif's car as he was preparing to leave. Sheikh Saif ran to him and helped carry him on to the Baniyas football team's bus, and spent a few minutes consoling him.
"On the bus, Sheikh Saif told me that this was God's will and he told me about what he felt when our father, Sheikh Zayed, passed away and how he felt when his brother, Sheikh Ahmad, died," Fawaz said. "He told me that Theyab's death was not mine to mourn, but the whole nation's. That brought me comfort.
"I know this is Allah's will, and I am trying to understand this but I can't. I always thought my day would come first.
"Ever since Theyab's death, I have been praying for his soul and reading the Quran for him."
ealghalib@thenational.ae