Kiyan Prince, the former QPR youth team player killed outside his London school, features in the FIFA 21 video game 15 years after his untimely death.
The promotional material from the EA Sports game shows Prince scoring a goal and running off in celebration with his arms wide open before showing the crowd his number 30 shirt.
Prince would have been 30 this year.
As a young footballer, he was seen as one of the most promising talents to come through the Queens Park Rangers academy with attributes tailored to excel in the modern game.
Who was Kiyan Prince?
Prince was snapped up by QPR as a youth player in 2004.
His performances for the youth team saw his stock rise and left a lasting impression on fellow players and coaches, who described him as a “prodigious talent”.
“The whole club is mourning the loss of one of our own,” said Gary Waddock, who was QPR manager at the time of Prince’s death.
“We are all devastated. Kiyan was certainly one for the future, a very talented lad who wanted to forge a career in football.”
Prince was a prolific goalscorer at youth level and reportedly in line to be offered a professional contract at QPR, who viewed him as a first team prospect.
In 2019, the club renamed their Loftus Road home The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium in memory of their youth team player.
What happened to Kiyan Prince?
In 2006, Prince was stabbed in the heart with a penknife while trying to break up a fight outside his north London school. The injuries were fatal and he died aged 15.
The schoolboy told friends: “If these are my last words, tell my mum I love her” before he died.
His killer, Hannand Hasan, was aged 16 at the time, claimed it was an accident but was jailed in 2007 - six years after arriving in Britain from war-torn Somalia.
Hasan was reportedly a “wannabe gangster” and a “bully who had assaulted other pupils” at the London Academy in Edgware, where he had been expelled from.
Kiyan’s dad Dr Mark Prince OBE, a former professional boxer, set up the Kiyan Prince Foundation to address the problem of gang culture and encourage teens to shun knife crime.
Why has he been added posthumously to FIFA 21?
Fifteen years on from his death, Kiyan has been added as a new player on FIFA 21 to encourage more young people to put down knives.
Dr Prince said: “The people playing are going to want to find out how can a dead young black boy be on a game?
“There have been others like him, but he stands out for all the right reasons. You should be finding out why he was a success, and it had nothing to do with the Bugattis and cars and money, it’s all to do with his character.”
Dr Prince said his son was “gentle” and “kind”.
He added: “Kiyan was the kind of son that you talk about, and say, ‘I wish my boy was more like this’. (He was) very discerning, very thoughtful of others, very caring, even down to the way he was with animals.”
How big a problem is knife crime?
In the 12 months leading to March 2020, police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales rose to a record high of 46,265.
Of the 683 recorded homicides in England and Wales in that period, 39 per cent involved a knife or sharp instrument, with the number of homicides of that type in London rising from 67 to 86.
Former England international and current QPR director of football Les Ferdinand says people’s mindset needs to change.
“Loads of young guys play FIFA, and they will see this and think about not just him losing his life, but his family, the part of their lives that was lost,” said Ferdinand.
“The guy that committed the murder went to prison, so his family’s life was lost. Leaving your house with a knife is an intention, whether our intention is to protect yourself or to take somebody else’s life.
“We’ve got to get this out of people’s minds. Hopefully this is something that might be able to prick someone’s conscience and think, ‘well you know what, let’s put this knife down’.”