The Chaplain for Sport has joined the football world in paying tribute to former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote, who has died at the age of 30.
Mgr Vladimir Felzmann said the tragic death was “an aide memoire to help us see every day sub specie aeternitatis: in the context of eternity”.
“After all, death is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when?’ ‘where?’ and ‘how?’,” he said.
“If we are ready to die we can indeed live life to the full [Jn, 10,10] as the followers of Jesus Christ realised at Pentecost.” He said he had a slip of paper glued to the bottom of his PC, on which is typed: ‘I dream as I have forever so I live as if I’ll die tonight’.
“It encourages me to keep on keeping on full-throttle, helping God make this world better as Cheick Tiote did in his own way on the field in Africa, Europe and Asia,” Mgr Felzmann said.
Tiote died on Monday 5th June after collapsing in training with Chinese club Beijing Enterprises.
Among those leading tributes to the midfielder was his former boss Alan Pardew. Tiote enjoyed his best years at St James’ Park with Pardew at the helm.
Pardew said: “I’m devastated to hear the news about my former player and friend Cheick Tiote.
“Cheick was a wonderful presence around the dressing room and his performances on the field often defied belief. I loved him.”
Picture: Cheick Tiote celebrates after scoring Newcastle’s fourth goal against Arsenal, salvaging a 4-4 draw against the Gooners at St James’ Park on 5th February 2011. (Owen Humphreys/PA).