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Gally Cummings: My tribute to the late Lawrence Rondon and Muhammad Isa

“We all stand as living proof of the kindness of Lawrence and Muhammad, because we saw their dedication and passion for the game on and off the football field.

“We also witnessed their care and concern as we whisper prayers of thanks that we were privileged enough to be associated with individuals of their worth.”

The following Letter to the Editor, which pays tribute to recently deceased Trinidad and Tobago international stand-out Lawrence “Fred” Rondon and TTFA director of football Muhammad Isa, was submitted by Hall of Fame football star and ex-Strike Squad head coach Everald “Gally” Cummings:

Photo: The famous Trinidad and Tobago team of 1973, which was robbed of a place at the Germany 1974 World Cup.
(Copyright TT Football History)

I was unable to attend the funerals of both Lawrence Rondon and Muhammad Isa because I was abroad.

Sometimes, we are all slaves to words and so often they are all we have to express those wordless feelings that so filled our minds and hearts at times like these. Yes words are all we sometimes have and yet, at times such as this, they are simply not enough.

Today, we are all faced with two personal losses and each of us will feel it, carry it and live with it; because two members of our football fraternity—who we loved and cherished so much—have been removed from our lives.

Yet all we have to express what we are feeling is a word like “sorrow”.

We tried to describe what we felt for them because they have contributed so much to the game of football for decades in Trinidad and Tobago. But once again, we are limited to words like “honour”. What does that really mean at this time?

We all stand as living proof of the kindness of Lawrence and Muhammad, because we saw their dedication and passion for the game on and off the football field. We also witnessed their care and concern as we whisper prayers of thanks that we were privileged enough to be associated with individuals of their worth.

Photo: Former TTFA director of football Muhammad Isa (right) poses with a young player.
(Copyright TTFA Media)

We all prayed that they will be with us forever but they have been called to a higher order of another kind.

To sum up what they were and what they did for the development of football and the lives of our youth in Trinidad and Tobago who they have touched is so difficult; because they made the lives of all these young people better through their hard work.

The game of football will never be the same without these two icons. Muhammad Isa through his coaching and Lawrence—better known as “Fred” to all of us—for the contribution he made to our national teams on the field of play.

Lawrence’s positive mental attitude contributed to the wonderful human being he was to all of us who knew him. His personality on the football field made all of his teammates’ lives better.

Let us be heartened today by the fact that, instead of mere words, we will use those images that are inscribed within our hearts to cherish the legacy of love and honour which he and Isa lived everyday—which were their lives and which in truth can never die.

All national players who have been touched by them at youth and senior levels should be thankful that they are who they are today because of those two football icons.

My deepest condolences go out to both their families. Farewell and rest in peace my loving brothers in football.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team in 1975 (Back row, L-R): Ken Henry, Lawrence Rondon, Tom Phillips, Devenish Paul, Leon Carpette, Ron LaForest, Sydney Augustine, Selwyn Murren and Edgar Vidale.
Front row (L-R): Norris Sorzano, Robert Francis, Steve Khan, Kenwyne Cooper, Mike Grayson and Milton Archibald.

About Everald Gally Cummings

Everald Gally Cummings
Everald "Gally" Cummings was coach of Trinidad and Tobago's famous 1989 team, which was known as the "Strike Squad", and was a key midfielder in the country's infamous 1973 World Cup qualifying campaign. He played professional in the United States and Mexico for over a decade and was inducted in the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. He was also listed among the country's top 100 sportsmen and women of the last millennium by the Ministry of Sport.

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