By Carlena Knight
“Father figure” was the affectionate title given to the country’s first native Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Technical Director, Rolston ‘Debu’ Williams, who passed away last week.
As the country continues to mourn the loss of Williams – who was also technical director of Parham Football Club (FC) – Parham player Tevaughn ‘Peter Reds’ Harriette has paid tribute.
Harriette, who hails from Parham, played under Williams for most of his career which has seen the club win a number of championships.
A somber Harriette paid tribute to his mentor on the Good Morning JoJo sports show.
“Debu was a father figure to me from ever since. When I first met him, I just wanted to learn everything from him so I stuck to him from day one through the good and the bad,” he recalled.
“Debu was very fierce in his expressions but I knew it meant nothing; he just wanted the best out of everybody. Some players would come to me after practice and say ‘boy, why coach man so rough to me, why he so hard’ but that was just Debu.
“He didn’t mean anything by it … he just wanted to improve the team and make us better. He was very committed and very serious in whatever he did and I think I learnt a lot from him,” Harriette said.
That same love for the game transcended onto the national team which several times included Harriette as a player and Debu as the technical director or coach.
Harriette, who has now turned his attention to politics and is the United Progressive Party’s (UPP) candidate for St Peter, spoke of the moment he heard of his mentor’s passing.
“First thing I said, this must be wrong information. I started to make some calls to find out if something really go so and everyone seemed a bit tight-lipped like if they didn’t want the information to be released. I kind of realised that something up so I had the feeling it was true after,” he explained.
Despite his somber mood, Harriette has indicated that it is his intention to honour his mentor in the community he also grew up in and loved so much, Parham.
Although he did not go into detail, he says these plans will soon go into action in the coming weeks.
The cause of Williams’ death has not yet been confirmed but he is known to have had some long-standing illnesses.