PRESIDENT of the Veteran Footballers Foundation of TT Selby Browne paid tribute to his former Queen’s Royal College team-mate Sheldon Gomes, as the latter was instrumental in a dominant period for the college in both cricket and football.
Sheldon, the older brother of former West Indies batsman Larry Gomes, died in Las Vegas, USA, on September 15. Sheldon, who was born in Arima, was 69. The funeral service for Sheldon will be held in Las Vegas, on Sunday. His ashes will be returned to Trinidad for burial at Santa Rosa RC cemetery.
“When news of the passing of Sheldon Gomes was received…all our tightly bonded Queen’s Royal College cricket and football team-mates of the late 1960s shed a silent tear,” Browne said.
Browne, on behalf of QRC’s sports teams of the late 1960s, extended condolences “to the entire warmly knitted Gomes family, to Sheldon’s wife, children and grandchildren and we pray that big sister Dianne and the girls and brother Larry and the boys, would be strengthened during this difficult time of mourning.”
After attending Holy Cross College in Arima, Gomes transferred to QRC where Browne said he quickly gelled with his cricket and football team-mates in 1967 and 1968.
“As team-mates we had the honour, pleasure and responsibility, to welcome Sheldon into the QRC family and to witness his outstanding skill and ability, and to admire the warmth of his humility. He immediately began the rigours of the football and cricket training sessions which he undertook well and delivered on the expectations.”
Reflecting on the 1967 football team, Browne said, “In the 1967 season QRC was crowned North Colleges champions which we thoroughly enjoyed.”
That team included captain Ian Jeffers, Brian Bain, Terry Thornhill, Stephen Gomez, Andre Pollard, Roger Mathew, Reynold Mc Kenzie, Raymond Borel, Kenley Rudder, Anthony Halfhide, Rolph Clarke, Jesse Blackman, Neil Springer, Garnett Harris, Browne, Earl Best, Patrick Rabathally, Larry Springer and the nippy Sheldon.
“We all made it our duty to protect Sheldon who was repeatedly targeted.”
The QRC footballers also had the privilege of meeting the FIFA president at the time. “In December 1967 the FIFA president, Sir Stanley Rous visited TT and met the QRC team prior to the start of a match against St Benedict’s College at Skinner Park.”
In 1968 with Gomes, Earl Best and Browne playing as strikers, QRC won the Colleges Football League. The team also comprised captain Roger Mathew, Stephen Gomez, Barry Amaroso, Patrick Wilkinson, Reynold Mc Kenzie, Kenley Rudder, Rolph Clarke, Neil Springer, Jessie Blackman among others.