The United Arab Emirates player who became an Internet sensation earlier this year when he scored a backheeled penalty has been killed in a car accident.

Theyab Awana, 21, died when a car he was in collided with a truck late Sunday while on the way back to Abu Dhabi after attending a national team training session in Al Ain.

“I feel the loss of one of my family,” UAE football president Mohammed Khalfan al—Rumaithi said Monday on the national federation’s website. “I felt bitter tragedy. May the almighty bless him and may he rest in eternal peace.”

Al—Rumaithi praised Awana’s committment to the UAE. The winger was considered a rising star on the country’s national team, but his biggest claim to fame was the backheeled penalty he scored in a 7—2 drubbing of Lebanon in July.

Awana jogged up to the ball before spinning and flicking the ball past the goalkeeper with his right heel. The YouTube video of the penalty has been viewed more than 1.2 million times.

Awana, who also played for UAE club Bani Yas, had been injured and was due to fly to Germany for treatment.

The national team’s training session was cancelled Monday so the players could attend Awana’s funeral in Bani Yas. The UAE next plays at South Korea in a World Cup qualifier on Oct. 11.

The Asian Football Confederation expressed its sympathy in a statement on its website.

“On behalf of AFC and the Asian football family, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the UAE football community, family and friends of Awana,” acting president Zhang Jilong said. “His demise at such a young age is a great loss to Asian and UAE football in particular.”

The roads in the United Arab Emirates are among the region’s most dangerous. A goalkeeper for the Under—23 side was badly injured in a car crash last year.

Keywords: Theyab Awana

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