ZAIN Ahmed's dream was to play basketball professionally - but it was a dream cut tragically short earlier this summer when he died shortly after being taken seriously ill.

The loss of the eight-year-old, who lived in Pill, Newport, has left his family understandably heartbroken - but incredibly, out of the pain and grief, a positive legacy is taking root.

Zain's mother Ghada Yassin paid tribute to her "lovely boy", who "touched everyone's heart".

South Wales Argus:

Zain Ahmed

The cause of Zain's death, on Tuesday June 25, was a suspected asthma attack.

He had been diagnosed with asthma at five years old.

“It was just 10 minutes after he reached the Royal Gwent Hospital, and he was gone,” said his mother Ghada Yassin, who spoke of how the family remains in shock almost three months later.

“I still think he’s at school,” she said.

“I keep expecting him to come home, he had only had his class picture taken that day.

“He only lived eight years but had the heart and the soul of someone who had lived for 80.

“He was such a lovely boy and will be missed not only by us but by everyone. He touched everyone’s heart.

“He was quiet, but at the same time he had something that everyone loved.”


Zain’s ability to touch the hearts of everyone in his community was painfully apparent than at his funeral, where people of all walks of life united in mourning.

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“We had people of all colours, religions and nationalities,” said Mrs Yassin.

“He united the community.”

Zain was an avid basketball fan and regularly played for Newport Aces Under-10s.

“He was a really good player,” said Mrs Yassin.

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“Basketball gave Zain confidence. He was so shy before basketball. He was the shortest in his team, but his energy and passion far outweighed his size

“His coach couldn’t believe it. He wanted to close down after he heard the news, but I said “No, you must continue, as it was Zain’s passion and his dream”.”

Zain was also a huge Harlem Globetrotters fan and had a pair of sweatbands signed by the team. He was taken to meet the players in Cardiff, unbeknownst to him, for his birthday this year.

“We told him we were going to the cinema,” said Mrs Yassin.

South Wales Argus:

Zain Ahmed with a member of the Harlem Globetrotters squad

“He was so surprised when he realised.”

Following Zain’s death, Mrs Yassin travelled back to her native Sudan to set up a project to help disadvantaged and disabled children in her son’s memory.

The Zain Ahmed Initiative will help children and young people to achieve things they might never have been able to achieve without the support of the scheme.

South Wales Argus:

With items for the memorial day auction are, from left: Dan Harvey from Newport County with a 1st team signed ball and match day tickets; Ashton Hewitt Dragons and Wales international with a signed shirt; Ghada Yassim, Zain's mum; Asa Waite with a Geraint Thomas signed top; Leon Brown, Dragons and Wales international, with a signed shirt; and Sean McGoldrick with signed boxing gloves. Picture:

Newport Aces have arranged a special memorial day to celebrate Zain’s life, on Saturday September 28 from 2pm-4pm at the Newport Centre.

The aim is for it to become an annual event and this year the day will feature a variety of sporting activities, as well as an auction of items donated by sports stars such as Christian Malcolm and Sean McGoldrick.

The proceeds of the auction will be split between the club and the asthma charity Asthma UK.

More information about the Zain Ahmed Initiative and the Newport Aces’ fundraising event is available on Facebook.