Sasikumar has fond memories of Ajax's brain damage victim Nouri
The tragic and abrupt end to Ajax Amsterdam starlet Abdelhak Nouri's football career has been mourned all over the football world, including here in Singapore.
The 20-year-old midfielder suffered serious and permanent brain damage after falling ill during a pre-season friendly against German side Werder Bremen in Austria last Saturday.
Bremen, several Dutch Eredivisie outfits and even English Premier League club Bournemouth expressed support for the Dutchman on social media.
In Singapore, former national player R Sasikumar also expressed his sorrow at the news.
The 42-year-old founder of sports marketing agency Red Card Global helped the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to organise the Lion City Cup from 2011 to 2013, and in 2015.
Nouri, then only 15, starred for Ajax as they won the 2012 Lion City Cup, and earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.
"To start with, as a father of two boys, I can't imagine what his parents are going through," Sasi told The New Paper.
"I've actually got a photo with him, he was such a lovely boy, and so humble.
"It just breaks my heart."
Nouri had spent the week in an artificial coma in intensive care in Innsbruck and, on Thursday, medical tests on his brain functions revealed "serious and permanent brain damage".
A statement published on Ajax's official website said "a lot of the brain is not functioning and the chances of recovering these crucial brain functions is nil thereafter".
The former Holland Under-19 international has been cleared for transport and is expected to be transferred to a hospital in Amsterdam for further care.
Following the diagnosis, Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar told the club's website: "Abdelhak has such great talent, but unfortunately, we will never know how far his star would go if this had not happened to him."
Nouri, affectionately known as "Appie", made 15 appearances for Ajax's first team last season, including three in the Europa League, and scored on his senior debut in a 5-0 win over Willem II. - SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ