Tributes have been paid to a talented young footballer ‘who always had a smile on his face’ stabbed to death on the steps of a primary school.
Ahsanullah Nawazai, who played for Walthamstow Red Star, died in hospital after being in attacked in a cul-de-sac in London Colney, Hertfordshire, on Wednesday night.
The 20-year-old, who lived in Walthamstow and was the previous winner of a Cheslea young footballer initiative, was described by his family as a ‘great footballer’ with skillful talent.
A statement from his family released by Herfordshire Police said: “He was a happy person, a lovely kid and much-loved member of the family. He always had a smile on his face.”
His former club Walthamstow Red Star tweeted: “Devastated. Another amazing talented leave us which is heartbreaking.”
The club said it would be holding a one minute silent prayer for Mr Nawazai and urged people to share the witness appeal.
The club tweeted: “2morrow b4 our game we’ll b holding a minute’s silent prayer 4 Ahsanullah Nawazai – a former Chelsea FC Asian Star Competition winner, a huge Arsena l fan & some1 who loved football! Some1 out there knows what happened! A 20 year old! ”
Hafiz Nawazai, 25, told the Evening Standard: “He was a smiler and was always happy, a lovely lad. He was like a brother to me. I am devastated. He was a great footballer, a really skilful talent.
“He played in the Chelsea youth set-up but his progress stopped because of serious injury.”
Another relative said: “We are grieving, we are too upset to speak now.”
Mr Nawazai was attacked outside St Bernadette Catholic Primary School in Walsingham Way at about 7.15pm and was said by a resident to have been found lying in the middle of the road without footwear.
Inspector Jon Roche from the St Albans Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “This sort of incident is very unusual in London Colney and I understand that it will have left the local community concerned. Officers will be in the local area today carrying out reassurance patrols and speaking to local people.
“Anyone who has information that may help our investigation is asked to contact us as soon as possible via the non-emergency number 101, quoting ISR 655 of November 28 or report information online.”