Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi
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Phillips’ greatness expressed in new book
This country has not lauded and rewarded Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips for the superb work he did as technical director for football at the T&T Football Association (TTFA) in getting the Soca Warriors to FIFA World Cup Germany back in 2006. That’s the view of Valentino Singh, sports editor of the T&T Guardian. He made the comment at Thursday’s launch of the Phillips books titled Rising Above and Beyond the Crossbar: The Life of Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips held at the Century Ballroom, Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain. Phillips served as technical director for football for seven years.
Singh said, “It seemed to me that everything Lincoln Phillips touched had an element of magic to it. Did it occur to you that the only time T&T qualified for the football World Cup final, Lincoln Phillips was technical director for football in T&T? You know, that escapes us simply because in all the celebrations Lincoln did what he is accustomed doing: sat in the background. He did what he had to do (while) everybody celebrated. Another person probably would have gone out there and made a lot of noise. What about me!? Everybody was collecting money left, right and centre. Lincoln never got himself involved in that. A modest man! A humble man! A man that knows how to laugh…how to enjoy life! “Lincoln is truly a legendary sportsman, but I want to assure you that what you will find in the pages of Rising Above and Beyond The Crossbar is not merely about sport. It is about a man who was blessed with a certain amount of talent and he utilised it in a meaningful way not only to establish himself as a man of valour. Lincoln transformed the mind set of an entire university with one GCE pass; found himself at Howard University, a school that didn’t understand the importance of sport, (and) was able to take people who were intellectually way ahead of what he was and got them to understand the value of sport. Today, Howard University, I think, is one of the most recognised universities in America because of the good work Lincoln did in getting them to understand that sport is in itself a tool for social development.”
Phillips, during his feature address told the gathering of sporting legends and lovers they should not be fooled into believing that his rise to success was due to his singular efforts. “Yes! I have been very successful, but if anybody feel they can be successful in life and do it by themselves, then that person is a fool. I am not a fool. I was successful mainly because of my family. My wife (Linda) has been with me for 49 years. She has given me four beautiful, wonderful young men. My eldest son, Sheldon–I’m so proud of him–is now secretary of the TTFA. Two of them played professional soccer. My grand-daughter turned to me one day and said ‘grandpa, you are the best! My seven-year-old grandson came up stairs with stripes on his chest and said ‘I am a tiger’. So my success in life is because of my family,” Phillips said. “I don’t like clichés, but there is one I have to use over and over. What happens in life depends on your attitude. Your attitude determines your altitude. I believe in it. I allowed myself to be taught by people who knew and I want to bring this back to T&T. I want more coaches to humble themselves sometimes and open their minds. Coaches (and) administrators, open your minds.”