Late Chung Fah hailed as 'more than a coach'

Friday, November 09, 2018

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WINSTON Chung Fah was hailed as “more than a coach” by one of his former mentees after news emerged that the Jamaica football icon died yesterday at age 78 at a hospital in Florida.

Chung Fah, who for a number of years has been stricken by numerous illnesses, including diabetes and heart and kidney problems, founded Santos Football Club in Jamaica in 1964.

He was coach of the famous 1977 Clarendon College team, regarded by some to be the best-ever schoolboy football side in Jamaica's history. Chung Fah had also coached the Jamaica senior women's team.

“He was more than a coach,” said Dennis “Den Den” Hutchinson, who was an important cog in the all-conquering 1977 Clarendon team.

“Sometimes 'Chungy' gave team talks and you got so emotional that you didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He gave jokes to paint a particular picture when he wanted to get across certain points to us. He was loved by everyone,” Hutchinson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“I first met him playing against his team in a [youth competition in Kingston] as a youngster. But little did I know I would be a key player in his Clarendon team that captured the [rural area] daCosta Cup and [all-island] Olivier Shield in 1977.

“We had a lot of diversity, players of different social backgrounds and he had to put that together. He was instrumental in getting those personalities into one package. That was a great body of work,” he recalled.

Hutchinson added: “We feel terrible [he is dead], but it is just a reality in life we have to deal with. I'm glad I was able to present him a Lifetime Achievement award in 2015 for his contribution to the sport in Clarendon and in Jamaica.”

Yesterday afternoon, the Jamaica Football Federation [JFF] issued a statement saying it was “deeply saddened by the passing of a legend of Jamaica's football and a great human being”.

According to the statement, JFF President Michael Ricketts said Chung Fah had “profound knowledge of the sport, was a true football historian, a student of the game [and was an individual] with a truly big heart.

Ricketts added: “I am deeply saddened and I offer on behalf of the federation condolences to his wife Barbara and his three daughters.”

Jamaica's Order of Distinction was bestowed on Chung Fah in 2013 for his contribution to the country's football.

— Sanjay Myers

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