Najjar: Neverson would always go beyond and beyond, until beyond got tired of facing him

Gems at Lajoya

“[…] What few have that Nigel Neverson had so much of was that ‘grinta’, die-hard, ‘from-the-guts’ desire to never give up and the desire to go past the finish line, as if there were two and three more finish lines to burst through. 

“He would always go beyond and beyond until beyond got tired of facing him…”

The following tribute to former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team goalkeeper and goalkeeper coach Nigel Neverson was submitted to Wired868 by former national coach Hannibal Najjar:

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National U-20 Team in 1987.
Nigel Neverson is at the far left of the front row in black pants while coach Hannibal Najjar is standing at far left.

Nigel ‘Nevo’ ‘Nevie’ Neverson’s contributions to T&T football will be missed. My first encounters with Nigel were at the National Under-17 and Under-20 Team while he was player and I coach.

Very few goalkeepers could have achieved what he did, given the above-average abilities that he brought with him as a young man. What few have that he had so much of was that ‘grinta’, die-hard, ‘from-the-guts’ desire to never give up and the desire to go past the finish line, as if there were two and three more finish lines to burst through. 

KFC Munch Pack

He would always go beyond and beyond until beyond got tired of facing him.

Small-framed for a goalkeeper, Nigel listened, internalised, and several times revisited the swallows of the coaches’ information and aligned them with his internalisation and instincts and then behaved in his sometimes stubborn manner. Oftentimes, he did the correct thing. He did this until he learnt to visualise, brainstorm, mentally rehearse, and then imagine the distances that he had to make up, which came more easily for the bigger and longer goalkeepers. 

He employed these techniques to also extend finger-lengths and strengthen finger and wrists in meeting especially hard-hit shots. He learned bit by bit and these served as building blocks en route to becoming the best that he could be.

Photo: Goalkeeper coach Nigel Neverson during his stint with Pro League team St Ann’s Rangers.

Nigel’s successes saw him perform as a goalkeeper at the National U-23 level also. He was a professional goalkeeper coach who served in that role for Superstar Rangers and QRC and offered private individual lessons for players who sought out his teaching abilities—especially in the finer, most needed skills for understanding the importance of geometry in a goalkeeper’s performance. 

He was an outstanding goalkeeper for his alma mater, St Benedict’s College, and the San Fernando Giants, Caroni and Police FC teams. Whilst he was at Giants, they won every possible competition and, in one year in particular, they won it all. They were coached by Dr Alvin Henderson during those times.

Nigel was a man that welcomed hard work and believed in operating with full integrity. He never questioned the maxim that ‘Winners never cheat – even in difficult times’ (Huntsman). 

Nigel Neverson, my player, my protege, my colleague, my friend, I will miss you. I knew that you had some health issues and many came to your side then. But now, you told us that you are fine to leave this place for a better one, where someday, you and I can play the Beautiful Game in that beautiful place called Heaven. RIP.

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