FRIDAY, JULY 13: Crash victim Tumaini Steede had the passion and skill to make it as a professional footballer.

The gifted sportsman died on Wednesday after suffering serious injuries in a bike accident nine days earlier.

Last night Devonshire Cougars were considering retiring the number 10 shirt he wore as a tribute to the popular player. Mr Steede joined the club at the age of nine and worked his way up the ranks to the senior team.

The 22-year-old was named BFA Young Player of the Year in 2011 and helped his side lift the FA cup by scoring two goals in the final.

Devonshire Cougars coach, Dennis Brown, told the Bermuda Sun that the side’s 2012/13 season would be dedicated to Mr Steede’s memory.

He added: “Tumaini was the real deal when it comes to what was required of a top prospect.

“He had the passion, good technical ability and was a very intelligent player who made brilliant runs off the ball and was a good finisher.

“It is a true tragedy not only for his family and Cougars but for Bermuda as well because this was a player who I thought could make it at a higher level if given the opportunity.

Goals

“We really missed him for most of last season because he was abroad in school with the goals that he scored or made the previous season.

“I saw him as a very passionate player who had high expectations of himself and his teammates.

“Often that passion may have been mistaken for arrogance but to me that showed me that he was a true leader and winner.

“It is very difficult for all who knew him inside or outside the club and this coming season I will encourage our players to dedicate this season to his memory.”

Mr Steede’s first coach, Shawn Smith, described the footballer as a ‘natural goal scorer’.

“He was always smaller and younger than everyone else, but he made up for that in skill and determination,” he said.

“It was not a question of if he scored, it was how many he was going to score.

“He was that good and I have no doubt that he could have made it as a professional.

“You could tell, even when he was just nine, that he had something special about him.

“It was a privilege to have worked with him.

“He was quiet and respectful, but always wore a smile and came across as an upbeat young man.

“He was destined for great things in football but also in life.

“It is very sad that he has gone.”

Craig Clarke, President of Devonshire Recreation Club, said he would talk with other club figures about the possibility of retiring the number 10 shirt as a mark of respect for the player.

He added: “Tumaini was a jewel. He had an infectious smile and a natural ability on the football pitch.

Family

“He has left a mark on our club that can never be forgotten and we will honour his memory. He was part of our family.”

Vance Brown, Vice President of the club and Youth Coordinator at the BFA, added: “Tumaini was fun to be around and always had a positive word to say.

“He was a well rounded individual, but also one of the best footballers on the island.”

• Police are still keen to speak to any witnesses to the fatal collision, particularly anyone who may have been travelling through the Palmetto Road, Devonshire area around 2am on July 2. Anyone with information should contact PC Shantia Furbert at the Roads Policing Unit on 295-0011.