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Dear editor: ‘He was my mentor and a gentleman!’ Ode to Tim Kee

“He was my mayor, vice president, president, mentor, father, friend, big brother…”

Former Strike Squad captain and National Futsal Team coach Clayton ‘JB’ Morris pays tribute to the late Raymond Tim Kee:

Photo: Late TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee.

He was Mayor of the city, Port of Spain, where I was born.

He was TTFA Vice president when I received the Keys to the City of POS and coached the first ever Trinidad and Tobago National Futsal Team.

He was TTFA President as I continued as the National Futsal Team coach.

Mr Raymond Tim Kee was instrumental in me attaining that position. He called me saying he had a coaching assignment for me. I reminded him that I was on the TTFA’s black list; he said ‘don’t worry about that coach’, and insisted that I was the only person in Trinidad and Tobago who fits the job.

“Coach, Fifa has this new sport that is now being introduced to Trinidad and Tobago.”

“And what Mr T?”

“Coach, this sport targets people from the streets in the ghetto, rude boys with talent.”

“How and where are we going to get these players from?”

“Coach, you know a Chinese man by the name of Wayne Lee?”

“Yes.”

“Well get in touch with him…”

The rest is history.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Futsal Team head coach Clayton Morris (left) has a laugh with Wired868 reporter Amiel Mohammed (centre) during an interview at the Maloney Indoor Sport Arena.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/CA-images/Wired868)

Just as Mr T said, most of the players that formed our first National Futsal Team came off the blocks of Mt D’or, Beetham Estate, Laventille, Maloney and surrounding communities. They went on to win the Caribbean Football Union Futsal Championship title in 2004 and 2008—to advance to the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers in Costa Rica and Guatemala respectively—and finished third in 2016 to qualify for the Concacaf Play Offs.

‘Fast forward to now’ as he would say.

In the years 2017-2018, with the fast growing sport of Futsal now inactive across the country, I took the opportunity—with permission from the prison authorities—to introduce Futsal to the inmates at the Maximum Security Prison. This basically was a continuation of the vision of the man who said that I am the person fitting for this Futsal coaching job.

During the 2008 CONCACAF Play Off in Guatemala—the night before my birthday on 5 June—as I reflected on my life, I thought that this word ‘FUTSAL’ must have a unique meaning: ‘Friends United To Save Another Life’. Mr Tim Kee gave this idea his fullest support.

I would forever cherish the advice and fond memories Mr T shared with me.

Be genuine: ‘Give from your heart’. You can fool all the people some of the times and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.

He was my mentor.

Photo: Former TTFA president and ex-Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Be a blessing for your children: The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. ‘Give your children a head start in life, more so your daughters, invest in land purchase property etc—in that way no man could make style on them’.

He was my father.

Make love central: Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away, but love stays with us.

He was my friend.

Love is the Answer: This was the theme that was used in our University of Trinidad and Tobago/Maximum Security Prison Futsal Outreach Programme 2018, which contributed to its success.

He was my big brother.

Mr T promised to sponsor banners—once granted permission by the Prisons Commissioner—and have them erected inside the MSP gym where all inmates would be reminded: ‘Love is the Answer’. I hope this wish can be fulfilled in his honour.

Mr T was a gentleman to his heart and believed in teamwork. I recall him telling me during one of the early sessions at the prison: “Coach, there is too much animosity amongst the group, we must get these players to bond better with each other.” This was evident.

Photo: A prison inmate.
(Copyright Getty)

I dealt with it as a typical coach, with push-ups and laps—sometimes I would tell the officer to leave them in their prison cells. Mr T, on the other hand, would pull the individual(s) off the field and deal with them very politely in his human-centred style.

After the United TTFA slate won the election, Mr T reminded me of the importance of transforming and developing grassroots football and Futsal in communities around the country, which, he stressed will equip our national teams with talent like in the good, ole days. He also stated persons/clients that were involved in the MSP Futsal program should be trained and developed in this initiative while incarcerated because they have a lot to contribute in the fight against crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

The UTT/MSP Program Mentorship Team and Technical Staff comprised Mr Peter Aleong, Mr Ronald Brereton, Reverend Brian Skinner, Dr Anthony Watkins, coach Dr Hannibal Najjar, former Mayor and former TTFA President Mr Raymond Tim Kee, Match Referees Assessor Merere Gonzales, trainer Brent Elder, goalkeeping coach Perry Martin and head coach Clayton Morris. Anyone who was absent was surely missed.

During one of our sessions at the prison, Mr T said to me:

“This man Peter Aleong missing too many sessions and when I call him, he’s telling me ‘I sick, I sick’. Every day?! Coach, Chinese people don’t get sick.

“If Peter feel he go dead and leave we doing this jail thing by we self, he lie!”

Peter is still here working in the prisons today!

Photo: Kareem Perry (centre) and his teammates juggle the ball during Trinidad and Tobago National Futsal Team practice in March 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/CA-images/Wired868)

I talked with Mr T a couple of weeks ago and didn’t know that would be the last time I would hear his voice live and direct. He will surely be missed.

To his family, know that Mr Raymond Tim Kee was a true blessing to all of us at the UTT/MSP Futsal Development program, Senior Men’s National Futsal Team, the Men’s, Women’s, Boys’ and Girls’ Soca Warriors Teams, the 1989 Strike Squad family, match officials and many others.

We ask for God’s strength for all of you, to cope in this period of deep grief.

Remember, Futsal means ‘Friends United To Save Another Life’.

Trinidad and Tobago what are we fighting for? Love is the Answer’.

Thank you

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