A murder investigation has been launched after a talented 18-year-old footballer who had dreams of turning professional was stabbed to death in south London.
The victim, named locally as college student Matthew Kitandwe, was found stabbed in Wayford street in Battersea, London, on Tuesday afternoon (21 June). He was pronounced dead at the scene about 45 minutes later at 5pm.
Kitandwe, who played football for Colliers Wood, had been on trials with the Uganda under-17s team. He studied at South Thames College and previously attended nearby St John Bosco College. His friends described him as "lovely, caring and funny" and said the attack happened as he was returning from college.
His cousin, Joseph Leaks, told IBTimes UK: "He was such a good guy, so humble. He never went looking for trouble. I don't know why someone would do this. He was a really good footballer who played for so many different teams – every coach in London would know who he was. It was his dream to turn professional and he motivated all of us to play."
Kitandwe played for Uganda at the 2015 Africa Youth Qualifiers and hoped to go on to represent his parent's country of origin at international level. A spokesman for Colliers Wood football team said: "Matthew, just 18, was an excellent prospect with dreams of representing Uganda at some stage. Our commiserations to Matthew's family."
Simon Uttley, headteacher of St John's Bosco College, also paid tribute to the teenager. He said: "On behalf of the entire school ... I wish to say how deeply shocked and saddened we are to learn of the death of Matthew Kitandwe who was a student at our school until 2012. Our prayers and deepest sympathy go to Matthew's family and friends at what must be a painful, heart-breaking time.
"Matthew was a well-liked and vibrant young person as well as a gifted athlete who represented the school. As a school community we will mark this tragedy in due course in a memorial service so that students and staff can pay their respects. May Matthew rest in peace."
Friends and family are expected to gather at a church in Clapham Junction for a memorial on Wednesday evening. A fundraising page has also been set up to help cover the costs of the funeral.
The Met Police's Homicide and Major Crime Command continues to investigate the circumstances of his death. Officers had taped off an area around the crime scene on Wednesday while forensic investigators in blue suits were seen combing the area, which is a mix of housing blocks and million-pound homes.
A man, 18, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody at a south London police station.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers via 0800 555 111.