Laureus World Sports Awards, Best Sporting Moment October nominees: Ajax fans' emotional tribute to 'Appie'
Ajax player Abdelhak Nouri collapsed on the field during a pre-season warm-up game in Austria versus German side Werder Bremen on 8 July. The 20-year-old, known as Appie, was airlifted to an Austrian hospital and was later transferred to a facility in Amsterdam. A club statement revealed he has no chance of recovering from "serious and permanent brain damage" caused by a lack of oxygen. It led to an outpouring of support for his family by
Ajax fans, who rallied outside the player’s family home in the Geuzenveld district of Amsterdam and chanted his name. Supporters were seen unfurling banners saying "Stay Strong Appie" and lighting flares in a huge show of support.
The club and fans also paid an emotional tribute to ‘Appie’ on 2 August ahead of their Champions League qualifier against Nice. Supporters unfurled a huge motif featuring the player ahead of the sold-out match at the Amsterdam Arena. On 34 minutes – signifying Nouri's shirt number – fans also gave 'Appie' and his family a standing ovation while players from both sides paused for a moment during a break in play to join in the touching tribute.
Nouri, a Dutch youth international born in Amsterdam to parents of Moroccan descent, made 15 appearances for the Dutch club last season, including three in the Europa League to help Ajax reach the final.
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Laureus World Sports Awards have been in existence for the last 17 years, with the first Laureus Awards held in 2000. Other than the Laureus Best Sporting Moment, Laureus announces its awards in eight different categories, some of them being: Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year.