The victim of a suspected acid attack feared he would never be able to see again. He had severe facial burns.
Waterford teenager and Republic of Ireland youth international, Tega Agberhiere, is recovering in hospital and is expected to regain full sight in both eyes.
The 16-year-old was one of three victims targeted at Earlscourt, in Waterford city, at 11pm on April 25. A number of youths were involved in the altercation.
Speaking about his ordeal from his hospital bed, the footballer spoke of his fears: “I am feeling less pain now. I can see from both eyes; they are a little bit swollen, so it’s hard to open them,” he told WLR radio in Waterford.
“The doctors said I should be able to see and that my vision will return to normal soon. I’m not sure if I will need skin grafts.
I will have to give my skin a few weeks to heal first, then I will find out. I am grateful for everyone that has sent text messages and saying nice things. It’s helped me get through everything.
He thanked staff at University Hospital Waterford, staff at Waterford Football Club, at Villa Football Club, in Waterford, and Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, who all wished him well.
Four teenage boys were arrested on Saturday by gardaí investigating alleged incidents of assault and violent disorder.They were questioned at Waterford garda station and later released without charge.
A file will be prepared for the director of public prosecutions.
Tega’s mother Christie also thanked staff at the hospital.
“They have been doing a great job with him,” she said.
“We have been getting messages from people from all over Ireland, we really appreciate every message.”
Gardai have appealed for witnesses, particularly anyone who was in the Earlscourt area at the time of the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Waterford garda station on 051-305300, or the garda confidential line, 1800 666111.