THE cousin of 16-year-old Philip Lamin has paid tribute to a promising footballer who died playing the game he loved.

Joshua Azubuike says he will cherish their childhood memories forever and spoke of his shock at hearing the tragic news in the early hours of Wednesday.

Talented Philip died after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing 5-a-side football with his friends at Goals Soccer Centre in Graham Road, Bexleyheath, on Tuesday afternoon.

Ambulance staff rushed to the scene within four minutes of receiving a call but the popular Bexleyheath Academy pupil died at 5:52pm at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich.

Speaking to News Shopper, Philip’s 16-year-old cousin said: “Everyone was BBM-ing me at 4am saying that was my cousin was dead. I thought they were joking.

“I couldn’t believe it – not Philip.

“He was so funny, always making jokes. He loved playing football, never caused trouble.”

The pair lived together between the ages of two and four and went to Boxgrove Primary School in Abbey Wood.

Joshua, of Panfield Road, Abbey Wood, says they remained close when they moved out.

Philip, who lived with his mum Juliet in Gordon Road, Belvedere,was looking forward to a trial at Fulham FC U18s when he finished his GCSEs this summer.

Joshua said: “We used to sleep at each other’s houses. When we were younger he wanted to be a professional footballer and drive a BMW.

“He was best footballer in the school.”

Joshua, a year 11 pupil at St Columba’s Catholic Boys’ School in Bexleyheath, said the whole family is struggling to come to terms with Philip’s loss.

He added: “I went to his mum's house on Tuesday - she was happy to see me and to hold me.”