FOR the third time in just under eight weeks, the national football fraternity, particularly Naparima College and W-Connection, mourns another stalwart sportsman, this time, former striker Teba McKnight.
The 37-year-old two-time (1999-2000) Intercol winner died on Monday afternoon. He had been ill for some time. McKnight was a former TT youth team forward and also attended and played for George Mason University in the US.
He served as a TT Football Association (TTFA) elite programme youth coach and was also a youth technical director for the Central Football Association. The ex-striker previously plied his trade in TT for Joe Public, W Connection and Club Sando.
McKnight’s death sent shock waves throughout the TT football fraternity, especially at his alma mater, Naparima College. The talismanic forward will be remembered for leading his school team to back-to-back Intercol titles.
McKnight scored decisive, title-winning headers in both 1-0 victories against Princes Town Secondary (1999) and Mucurapo Secondary (2000) to hoist the league’s most coveted crown.
Against Princes Town, Leon “Police” Brown quickly converted a free kick in midfield which beat the defence and found a pressing McKnight, who headed over the opposing custodian to score the lone goal. That year, McKnight’s goal sealed Naparima’s triple crown of titles, after it had previously won the Secondary Schools Football League South Zone.
A year later against Mucurapo, in a match locked at 0-0 in the 91st minute, a young Jerol Forbes, later a national striker,was substituted to add firepower to Naparima’s attack. Forbes’ unstoppable pace allowed him to press down the right flank and launch a targeted cross into the penalty area, where a flying McKnight headed it home to send the travelling fans into a frenzy, grabbing their second consecutive National Intercol title.
Naparima College team manager Percy Samlalsingh, who attended “Naps” during McKnight and Anthony’s reign and also managed Winchester, reminisced about their illustrious careers.
“It’s another tough loss for us. From Shahdon (Winchester), to Roderick (Anthony) and now ‘Teba – three stalwarts in the football fraternity for Naparima College. They have all brought home a lot of silverware and glory.
“He was a big supporter even after he left Naps. He would scout talents for athletes to acquire sport scholarships in the US because he had good chemistry with both local and foreign coaches,” Samlalsingh explained.
He admitted he had been unaware of McKnight’s illness. However, in speaking to former team-mates on Monday, he learned he had been ailing for some time and had taken a turn for the worse.
“We didn’t know he was ill. He was always in contact with us, because he assisted us in securing sports scholarships for our athletes. We were actually holding discussions with him to come on board for our form one programme.
“We now extend our mourning from Shahdon, to Roderick and now to McKnight,” Samlalsingh concluded.