Rex Courtney Burnett

Rex Burnett NicknameRopo
Date of Birth October 2nd, 1918 , died May 14th, 2004 (aged 85)
Place of Birth Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Caps/Goals9    ( 5 goals)
Last ClubNotre Dame
Previous Clubs
SchoolsSt. Mary's College

There have hardly been two brothers who are dissimilar in their methods as Harold and Rex Burnett. Whereas Harold attended Queen's Royal College, played cricket and football and became an administrator in the former, "Ropo" on leaving St. Mary's College stuck strictly to football. Harold was content to patrol the right wing and await passes before making pinpoint crosses, Rex played at inner left and challenged all defenders with his clever dribbling. "Ropo" started college in 1929 and represented the institution at both cricket and football. He was college champion at throwing the cricket ball once. He joined Notre Dame in 1938, his school-leaving year and from 1941 he began to attract attention. First he was instrumental in his side's winning the First Division League Shield and the Gooden Chisholm Cup, contested between the champion teams of North and South. He also gained his first inter-league selection that year.

A year later he toured Barbados with a Casuals combined team and eighteen months afterwards he returned, this time as a member of the national team. In a surprising performance, "Ropo", more recognised for his goal-creating opportunities, ended the tour as his team's leading scorer. Back in Trinidad he was preparing for the revival of inter-colonial football with Barbados and British Guiana the visitors. For the triangular tournament in which each team played the other twice, he played in all four games undertaken by the host nation and formed a good understanding with "Nattie" Sealey. In the return game v. Barbados the duo scored five goals with "Ropo" claiming two. It was a successful series for Trinidad who played unbeaten.

Trinidad's next football commitment was in 1946, a good year for him. Again he found a place on the national team but Trinidad lost the series. He returned to help his club win the League Shield and when the team to tour Jamaica and Curacao in early 1947 was announced, he was included for his third straight national football tour. Later that year Trinidad hosted another triangular series, including British Guiana and Jamaica. By this time Malvern had become the glamour team of the T.A.F.A. and its captain Phil Doughlin had replaced "Ropo". In the final game v. British Guiana, the entire Malvern forward line took the field. He had the last word however and in a scintillating display in an F.A. trophy semi-final, showed his true genius by outwitting the Malvern defence and twice laying on precision passes to Terry Bates who obliged with two bullet-like shots. After that 2-1 win, Notre Dame went on to take the trophy from U.B.O.T. by the identical score.

Haiti were the visitors in 1948 and they met an unchanged XI throughout the series with Burnett at inner left and Bates at left wing. That team was popularly referred to as the Family XI, which took all the honours at inter-league and inter-territorial level. He continued to hold his place on the national team and visited places like Suriname (1948), Guadeloupe (1949) and finally the United Kingdom in 1953. He also played at home against Curacao and Suriname in 1950. After returning from U.K. tour he decided to retire and left the scene without pursuing anything at administrative level. After sixteen years playing for one club and ten years of experience as a national player, he left the game, which brought him great satisfaction and the crowdsí lots of spectator value, whenever they watched him play.
(T&T Sports Hall of Fame bio)

Honors for Rex
  • Inducted into Trinidad & Tobago's Sports Hall of Fame in 1985

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