By Neto Baptiste
Tributes continue to pour in following the death of the country’s technical director for football, Rolston “Debu” Williams, on Wednesday at the Mount St John’s Medical Center.
Williams, who became the first local coach to occupy the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s (ABFA) top managing position back in 2016, died just days after he was admitted to the country’s lone public hospital on Monday.
Member of Parliament for the St Peter Constituency and a longtime friend of Williams, Asot Michael, was happy to have spent some time with the former Parham FC coach the night before he died.
“I am very happy indeed that I had the opportunity last night to go to the hospital with some of his closest friends to pray with him. I took my Bible with me and Debu was strong, he was in good spirits. I asked him if he was in pain and he said no. He read from the Bible, he prayed with us and he was strong. Debu was one of my greatest friends, a brother, he was like family to me. I will miss him dearly because he has been there for me, not just politically, but as a brother and a mentor and as a true friend,” he said.
The often outspoken Williams who battled a long bout of illness over a year ago, was seemingly on the mend but reportedly fell ill on Monday and was rushed the hospital where he was receiving treatment when he passed.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, EP Chet Greene, who is also a former president of the Parham FC, spoke of Williams’ passion for the game and his love for the Parham community.
“Let me, as a former president of the Parham Football Club and on my own behalf, express condolences to the family of the late, great Rolston ‘Debu’ Williams. I would have heard some of the comments on the way to my office and I identify with all that you’ve said about Debu, and his passion really meant nothing but he just had a fiercely competitive spirit and it came over in the way he communicated. I think football has lost a true soldier, warrior and a true servant and the nation has lost someone who has given much to young people in the sphere of sports and football in particular,” he said.
A number of Williams’ close friends also spoke of his passion and love for the game.
Williams would have served as head coach of the senior national football team back in 2004 and 2012 when he led the nation during the Caribbean Football Union’s (CFU) Caribbean Cup Championship.
He also led Parham to back-to-back Premier Division titles in 2001/2 and 2002/3. Parham also won in 20010/11 and 2014/15 under his tutelage.