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Sat, Oct

Williams: Grovy had a knack for getting the best out of players
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FORMER St Anthony’s College goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and former Queen’s Royal College (QRC) footballer Radanfah Abu Bakr both had fond memories of former football coach Nigel Grosvenor, who died on Friday.

Grosvenor, 63, a recovering cancer patient, contracted covid19 over a month ago and had been hospitalised since.

Grosvenor began coaching St Anthony’s in 1983 and spent more than 30 years at the school. He transformed the Westmoorings school into a powerhouse, leading the “Tigers” to multiple Intercol and SSFL League titles.

After leaving St Anthony’s a few years ago he spent three years with Queen’s Royal College (QRC).

Several players he coached at St Anthony’s went on to represent the national senior team including Williams, Kenwyne Jones and Carlos Edwards. Grosvenor was also a physical education teacher and dean at St Anthony’s.

Williams, 35, was part of a formidable St Anthony’s unit under Grosvenor in the early to mid-2000s.

Reflecting on the life of his former coach, Williams said Grosvenor assisted all the young men at St Anthony’s.

“In terms of just gaining scholarships (to the US), in terms of helping them to secure jobs after they would have graduated from St Anthony’s and just helping them be generally better individuals…who were able to contribute and support their families and themselves.”

Williams, a former national goalkeeper, said all the players Grosvenor coached were special to him. However, Williams said the team of the early to mid-2000s meant a lot to him. That St Anthony’s team, which included Kenwyne Jones, won multiple titles.

A lot of top coaches in sport have the knack of getting the best out of their players. Williams said Grosvenor had that skill.

“Grovy, in terms of individually, I think he just knew how to get the best out of individuals on the football field. He wasn’t the greatest tactician in terms of setting up a team, but he was definitely one who was a good motivator. He was a good friend, he was a good father figure and a genuinely good person and I think the world kind of lacks that these days.”

Williams shared memories of Grosvenor’s team talks, saying that after players listened to him they felt that they “could move mountains.”

National defender Abu Bakr, 33, said, “Firstly I want to extend my condolences to his family. A huge void has been left by his passing. The numerous accolades and trophies he won over the years can’t compare to the countless lives he positively impacted through football. He always demanded the best out of those around him, staff and players alike. That, coupled with his passion for the game, in my opinion, made him so successful. His legacy will live on through the many talents that he moulded.”

Abu Bakr came up against St Anthony’s on several occasions in the North Zone while he was a student at QRC. Abu Bakr, who entered QRC in the late 1990s, said it was always a fierce battle against the Tigers with Grosvenor at the helm.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was intimidating, but you were guaranteed a tough game against any Grovy team because of the winning mentality that he transferred to his players. I only remember beating Grovy’s St Anthony’s once. Not many teams did. That says a lot.”

Abu Bakr was the goal scorer that day in a 1-0 win for the Royalians. Abu Bakr also had the privilege of working alongside Grosvenor as an assistant coach at QRC for three months in 2019.