Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Paul Wright | Winston Chung-Fah: a mentor and a friend

Published:Tuesday | December 11, 2018 | 12:22 AM
Winston Chung-Fah received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaica's football programme at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony on Monday, October 21, 2013.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, legendary coach, motivator and friend of all who knew him, Winston 'Chungie' Chung-Fah was laid to rest in Pinecrest, Florida. He was one month short of his 79th birthday. During the service, attended by approximately 800 of his friends, Clarendon College, coached by Lenworth Hyde, won the ISSA Olivier Shield, the trophy that signifies supremacy in schoolboy football in Jamaica.

In 1977, Winston led Clarendon College to its first Olivier Shield victory, fulfilling a promise made to the school three years earlier. Lenworth 'Teacha' Hyde was a principal member of that team. As Lenny said in a post-match interview, "I know Chung-Fah will be smiling now. He was the 12th man on the field." Winston was a remarkable man. As a coach, he was not one who does the greatest things, he was the one who got people to do the greatest things.

His biography printed in the programme at the service in Florida reminded us that Winston sang in the Vere Johns talent show, "Opportunity Knocks," promoted Christmas morning concerts, (introducing James Chambers aka Jimmy Cliff, to the public at one of his shows), acted in stage shows for "Bim" of "Bim and Bam" fame, was a life insurance salesman and renowned restaurateur: International Restaurant and Sampan, as well as the canteen at the Students Union of the University of the West Indies.

In football, Winston kept goal for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and attended coaching courses in Bermuda, England and Europe, learning and developing skills that allowed him to develop his dream of making every footballer who came into contact with him, achieve the heights of their desires. He was co-founder and coach of the Doncaster Rovers, founded Santos FC, that became five time National Champions here in Jamaica. In the Cayman Islands, he coached Scholars Sports Club and Academy FC. He wrote the constitution for football in the Cayman Islands. With the youngsters in Jamaica, he successfully coached Vere Technical to the daCosta Cup in 1969, Campion College to the Private Schools Triple Crown in 1971, and in 1977, Clarendon College to the daCosta Cup and Olivier Shield.

 

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Internationally, he coached the 1976 Jamaica Juveniles team, and was technical director of the Jamaica Football Federation from 1991 to 1993. He was the first head coach of the senior national women's team that was housed on the top floor of the National Stadium.

He also created the Doctor Bird logo now used as the insignia. He was President of the Miami Classic football tournament from 1982-1995, and the Cayman Classic. He was the proud recipient of the FIFA Order of Merit in 2012, and the Jamaica Order of Distinction in 2013.

Basil Wilson, known to all of us as "Bagga" gave the eulogy, from his heart, no notes, reminding the 800 or so attendees of the celebration of the life of this great man, of his highlights and foibles. On a personal note, I made the Manning Cup squad at Wolmers in 1966. I was vying for a place on the starting eleven with "German" Lewis. The competition was abandoned that year, because of violence, so when I went to the University of The West Indies (UWI) in 1967, as a proud Taylorite, I was determined to continue as a football goalie. Chungie was hired as our coach, and at the first training session at the "Natural Stadium" near to Taylor Hall, I put on my full gear from Wolmers' days and passed the room that housed Trevor Rose, a fellow Wolmerian and legendary schoolboy footballer. Trevor was not in football gear and he explained to me that his sporting days were over! He came to the UWI to study to become a doctor. Moreover he was tired of being kicked and beat up while playing football. Disappointed, I went to the practice field to meet this legendary coach who could work miracles. I spoke to the man and bemoaned the fact that probably the best left winger in schoolboy football was not interested in playing anymore. Winston asked for directions to his room (A8) and left the practice session. Ten minutes later, Trevor in a pair of shorts, a tee shirt and crepe soles joined the practice. To me, this man could do anything. And he did. He became my friend and mentor.

After an Inter Campus Games in Barbados, I was voted the MVP of the tournament and I left the airport, straight to his apartment in Barbican to hand him the trophy. I never won it, Winston did. When I left the UWI to continue my medical training in England, Winston gave me a phone number. He said that it was the number of his brother Frank. I should call him if I ever needed anything. I left the airport in London straight to the YMCA there, where I had made arrangements to stay. That first evening I discovered, much to my dismay, that toilet paper in England bore a striking resemblance to what we call "grease paper' in Jamaica. So I called Frank to find out where I could get "real" toilet paper to buy. Frank explained that no friend of Winston could live at the YMCA. I left the Y that same night to stay with Frank, Vincent and their Mother, "Mum," for the next two years. On graduation, I returned to Jamaica, and in 1976, Winston recruited me to be the doctor for the Juvenile team to a tournament in Puerto Rico. The accommodation was substandard, and I protested vigorously. With Winston's help, we had the accommodation changed and on my return to Jamaica, my interest in Sports Medicine, a fledgling branch of medicine at that time was born.

Last Saturday, as I listened to Bagga Wilson, I was reminded of the instructions of the great Martin Luther King Jr: "Tell them not to talk too long, and I hope that someone would mention that Martin Luther King Jr tried to give his life serving others." The emotional eulogy by Bagga did exactly that for Winston Chung-Fah, Chungie, and Nava. He gave his life serving others! Rest in peace, Legend.