Ajax fans rally for stricken player

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Ajax fans gather outside of the family home of Dutch midfielder Abdelhak Nouri on July 14, 2017 in AmsterdamImage copyright AFP
Image caption Fans made a huge show of support for Abdelhak Nouri and his family

Hundreds of fans of the Dutch football team Ajax have staged an emotional rally outside the family home of a player who suffered brain damage after collapsing in a friendly match.

Tributes have been pouring in for 20-year-old Abdelhak Nouri who collapsed in a game in Austria a week ago.

The club says the midfielder suffered “serious and permanent brain damage”.

Nouri, known as Appie, has been transferred to an Amsterdam hospital for further treatment.

In an emotional display of support for the player, Ajax fans gathered outside his parents’ home in the Geuzenveld district of Amsterdam, applauding, lighting flares and chanting “Appie, Appie”.

Nouri suffered cardiac arrhythmias – heart rhythm problems – during the game against German team Werder Bremen, Ajax said in a statement,

He received emergency treatment on the pitch and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Innsbruck.

The club has said there is no chance of him recovering from the damage.

“The diagnosis was made that a lot of [his] brain is not functioning. All this probably occurred due to a lack of oxygen supply,” the statement said.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The promising young player, known as Appie, is now being treated in an Amsterdam hospital
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The player’s family responded to the crowd

Shock at the news has been reflected in Dutch media.

“News that the Ajax super-talent Abdelhak Nouri has suffered severe brain damage burst like a bombshell,” the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper said.

“It doesn’t get more bitter than this,” commented De Telegraaf, adding that the “friendly, soft-spoken but roguish Appie who once put a smile on everybody’s face has now become the centre of dismay and sadness”.

Nouri made his debut for Ajax last September and played 15 league and cup games, scoring a goal in a cup tie.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Abdelhak Nouri was considered a burgeoning talent

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