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The Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT) is mourning the death of former Malvern player Michael “Sally” Saldenha.

In a release, VFFOTT president Selby Browne expressed his sadness and extended condolences to Saldenha’s son Marlon, wife Brenda, daughters Michelle and Melissa and the entire family.

In the release, Browne noted that, “Sally” was truly a leader, a captain’s “go-to” man, for leading the training sessions, pulling up the discipline and punctuality and encouraging all to dig deep for that extra effort to give of your best. Michael was truly an exemplar to all his teammates.”

Speaking of Saldenha’s contribution to Malvern, Browne pointed to a 1968 FA trophy match against Point Fortin Civic Centre at Skinner Park.

“It manifested his dedicated training, his discipline and work ethic,” Browne noted.

He added: “Nineteen-sixty-eight was an exciting year for football in Trinidad and Tobago. That year QRC defeated St Benedict’s College at the St Benedict’s ground and the football fans in Trinidad and Tobago were enjoying attractive, entertaining football following on the memorable InterCol football of the previous years; 1965, ’66 and ’67. QRC lost one match in 1968, to the St Mary’s College team that went on to win their other two matches for the North and National InterCol.

I say all this to set the tone for the excitement in Trinidad and Tobago football that year. The Football Association (FA) Trophy was the national knockout tournament amongst the major clubs in the TFA. Malvern were forced to play six straight matches in seven days to complete the schedule, having drawn matches against two other clubs that week in the north, while Point Fortin Civic Centre were winners in the South and awaited the final to be played at Skinner Park.

I attended the match which was a tough one, played on a heavy ground and well remember Dick Furlonge not having his way against Selris Figaro and Dick eventually cuffed somebody. Malvern got a penalty. Arthur “Jap” Brown kicked the penalty, scored and collapsed.

“The leg weary Malvern footballers gave their all. It was Michael Saldenha’s best match ever in my view. Malvern against all odds won the FA Trophy and the celebrations began. All the Malvern players saluted Sally after that performance. He took charge of the midfield and motivated the team to victory with his profound ability to read the game well.”

And Browne ended by saying: “Michael was the big brother all brothers would like to have, with his leadership by example, words of advice, guidance and thoughtfulness.”

SOURCE: T&T Express