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Wishing you the best, Tobi

29 October 2013

Young striker forced to retire

It is with genuine sadness we have learnt that former Lions striker Tobi Alabi has had his playing career cut ruthlessly short due to a heart condition.

Tobi, who will be 20 on 5th November, came through the ranks at The Den and made his senior debut as a half-time sub for The Lions in a 3-0 pre-season win at Shelbourne in July 2011.

The hugely popular frontman, featured regularly for Millwall's U18s and then U21s last season, also gained additional experience with a loan spell at Hampton & Richmond.

Tobi moved to non-league Met Police earlier this season and it was whilst playing for Jim Cooper's side two weeks ago that he collapsed on the field during a friendly 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 went for further tests and hospital staff have now confirmed that he will no longer play competitive football due to a condition called HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) - a condition best known as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Speaking on his Twitter account (Alabss_) Tobi said: "I'm distraught to have to inform you that I will be forced to retire from playing football due to a heart condition. Inconsolable."

He continued: "I'm grateful for the experiences I've had, the wonderful people I've met & the life long 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 said: "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."

Millwall CEO 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."

Everyone at Millwall Football Club would like to thank Tobi for his effort, enthusiasm and commitment whilst playing for The Lions and wish him and his family the very best for the future.

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