Tue, Aug


The sud­den pass­ing of Richard Elias Fakoory left me stunned in the same man­ner as that of young Ste­fan Mon­teil. Richard was 71 and I nev­er knew him to have any health is­sues so when he died with his wife at his side, it made me yet again re­flect on life. It brought back mem­o­ries of a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween my good friend Stan­ley Hunter and I in our younger days af­ter I said to him, “Stan boy you mov­ing fast I hope you don't suf­fer from burn out.” His im­me­di­ate re­sponse was, “Mur­ray, let me tell you some­thing, this life ain't no dress re­hearsal so I liv­ing and fur­ther­more, I nev­er met any­body who said to me they were here be­fore.” I couldn't ar­gue with those words as they were so true.

Fakoory was a true gen­tle­man - very hum­ble and al­ways will­ing to reach out to who­ev­er was in need of his as­sis­tance. I met the gen­tle­man some 31 years ago when he ap­proached me seek­ing spon­sor­ship, not for foot­ball, but bas­ket­ball as he had just start­ed the Su­per10 Bas­ket­ball League (SBL). It was my first en­counter with him and he ap­peared very gen­uine in want­i­ng to sup­port the youths and get them off the streets and play­ing bas­ket­ball.

The Su­per10 con­sist­ed of the 10 best play­ing bas­ket­ball teams in the coun­try play­ing for prize mon­ey that ex­ceed­ed the ex­pec­ta­tions of the bas­ket­ball fra­ter­ni­ty. Gen­tle­man Richard and his part­ner Dave Ramkissoon pound­ed the pave­ments seek­ing spon­sor­ship and of course he suc­ceed­ed in reach­ing his goals be­cause it was felt that with Richard at the helm with his ad­min­is­tra­tive and op­er­a­tional skills, the league was go­ing to be suc­cess­ful. It cer­tain­ly was suc­cess­ful as the league op­er­at­ed for many years and the tem­plate for its suc­cess was copied by the Na­tion­al Bas­ket­ball Fed­er­a­tion (NBF) of T&T.

It was no sur­prise to me when he got more in­volved in foot­ball again as­sist­ing the youths. He al­ways placed the play­ers at the fore­front and al­ways want­ed what he felt would have been best for them. At the time I was still work­ing at Carib and a cou­ple of the guys from the bot­tling hall came to my of­fice one day and said they want­ed to en­ter a team in the then TTFF East zone. I thought it was a delu­sion­al idea - a bunch of fac­to­ry work­ers who bot­tle beer and work in the var­i­ous ware­hous­es want to tack­le the pow­er­hous­es of the East zone like San Juan Jabloteh and the likes? Worse than that, they asked me to coach the team. Not want­i­ng to refuse them as I felt in­te­gra­tion with the of­fice staff and the guys from the fac­to­ry was good for morale with­in the com­pa­ny, I oblig­ed.

I was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised at the abil­i­ty of the guys and I felt once I could in­stil some dis­ci­pline and or­gan­i­sa­tion in­to the team, they would do well and sud­den­ly oth­er teams start­ed to take no­tice of the Carib FC team. They were mak­ing a name for them­selves in the East Zone. I was quite con­tent to go along with the play­ers I had as we kept the squad con­fined to those who ac­tu­al­ly worked at the Brew­ery.

The rea­son for this back­ground is sim­ple. One day I got a phone call from Richard and he said he had a play­er for me. I told him I did not need any play­ers as I have enough here on the team. He lit­er­al­ly begged me and would not put down the phone. He said the play­er would run through a brick wall for me and all he want­ed me to do was give him a job. That play­er was Mar­vin An­drews. Mar­vin at the time had rep­re­sent­ed the T&T youth team but had suf­fered a se­ries of in­juries and was just re­turn­ing to com­pet­i­tive foot­ball.

Here was Richard Fakoory of­fer­ing me a play­er that would have made his team - ECM Mo­town - with­out a prob­lem but his ma­jor con­cern was not him­self or his own team, but for Mar­vin to get a job and still play foot­ball at a com­pet­i­tive lev­el. His­to­ry would show that with Mar­vin in the team, we went on to win the East Zone and qual­i­fied for the Cham­pi­on of Cham­pi­ons league and then qual­i­fied for the Se­mi-pro League. At that point, I couldn't con­tin­ue and Mar­vin left for a pro­fes­sion­al con­tract with Raith Rovers F.C. in Scot­land but all this was be­cause of Richard Fakoory.

Every time I en­coun­tered Richard he was the same way. I nev­er heard him raise his voice even though some of the peo­ple who worked with him in bas­ket­ball would tell a dif­fer­ent sto­ry - he was tough. I met him in the gro­cery with his wife shop­ping a few weeks ago and he was chat­ting to me about lo­cal foot­ball. I could have felt the pain in his voice and he said to me, “would you come on board?” and I promised him we will talk. Sad­ly that was my fi­nal dis­cus­sion with him.

Richard Fakoory will al­ways be re­mem­bered as a peo­ple's per­son and my deep­est con­do­lences to his fam­i­ly and all those who were touched by his gen­uine kind­ness. May he rest in peace.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian