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Story and photos by Carlena Knight

The sporting fraternity and the nation at large bid their final respects to Rolston ‘Debu’ Williams, the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s first local technical director.

Williams was laid to rest in his hometown of Parham on Saturday following a ceremony celebrating his life at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground that afternoon.

Many paid tribute to the fallen sports fanatic including the Minister of Sports himself, Daryll Matthew.

“It is with tremendous sorrow that I pen these words of tribute to our late friend and collage Debu. History will be kind to Debu, not only due to his profound commitment to the sport of football and all sports, not only due to his commitment to training and self-development and not only for his commitment to sharing and imparting his knowledge to all who seek his help.

“Debu embodied commitment. If he was in your corner you can sleep well knowing that he will support, guide and encourage you. He was well-spoken. He was articulate. He was honest.

“He was never afraid to voice his opinions and he remained an invaluable member of the staff until he breathed his last breath. The impact of his passing on his peers will be profound and he will be deeply missed. Sleep well Debu,” Matthew wrote.

Long-time friend Roderick Williams also penned a moving tribute to the former national coach.

“It would be impossible to put into words the sorrow I felt of the passing of Mr Rolston Spurgies Debu Williams. Knowing the relationship we had and how closely we had worked together, I was in disbelief.

“If I am asked to describe Debu, I would use these words: a community man, hard worker, committed, dedicated, honest, passionate, competitive, kind and supportive.

“He was the one who made the recommendation for me to pursue my first coaching course overseas. The legacy of Rolston Debu Williams has clearly left a lasting impression on many people especially from the Parham community. Live on Debu,” Williams added.

Another long-time friend and colleague Vincent ‘Nabu’ Samuel spoke on the impact Williams had.

“A good heart has stopped beating but a heart that has touched so many lives can’t help live on in those it loved.

“He definitely was a warrior for the football in our unique country of Antigua and Barbuda and has dedicated his time to develop many both young and old, male and female. He was definitely an all-inclusive coach.

“He had a gift of innovative thinking, a visionary spirit and the tenacious patience required to successfully lead football reform. We as coaches salute your work. Sleep on my brother,” Samuel said.

Williams became the country’s first Antiguan football coach to be named as technical director for the ABFA in 2016 and held that post until his untimely passing in October.

He had a longstanding battle with illnesses over the years which sidelined him for some time before he made his return.

Just days before his passing in October the Antigua Grammar School (AGS) football coach was admitted to Mount St John’s Medical Centre.

Tributes since poured in for the beloved coach and mentor.

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