Former Millwall striker Tobi Alabi has been forced to retire from the game due to a heart condition.
Alabi, who only turns 20 on 5 November was a regular in the Lions U18 and then U21 sides last term. He also featured on the first-team pre-season tour to Ireland in July 2011.
The forward had left the New Den over the summer and was seeking ti rebuild his career – turning out for non-league Met Police until two weeks ago when he collapsed during a friendly game against Molesey. It was initially thought that he had suffered an asthma attack, and he was able to leave the pitch unaided and watch the rest of the game from the stands.
However Tobi hospital tests have diagnosed him with a condition called HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) – which is known as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.
Communicating the news via his twitter account Alabi tweeted:
I’m distraught to have to inform you that I will be forced to retire from playing football due to a heart condition. Inconsolable.”
“I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the wonderful people I’ve met & the lifelong friends I’ve made.
“Would like to thank all the coaches that coached & helped to develop my game. Would like to thank the fans of the clubs I have represented.
“Would like to say a special thanks @MillwallFC & everybody involved in the club that helped me develop & progress as a player.”
Met Police manager Jim Cooper added: “The long term plan for him is still to be decided but it is possible that he has a defibrillator inserted to his heart to prevent further attacks.
“I am absolutely gutted for him. He is one of the nicest guys off the pitch, he always had a smile on his face and like many others who play Non-League football, he still had aspirations to play professional football again.”
While Millwall chief executive Andy Ambler said: “It is dreadfully sad news for Tobi. He really is a lovely lad with a great attitude and was one of those players you just sensed could have gone on to get a second opportunity at playing in the Football League again.
“Tobi is a very articulate young man and I have no doubt that he will be as committed to his next career as he has been to football.”