T&T and W Connection striker Shahdon Winchester was living the dream of his father Derrick to be a professional footballer when his life was snuffed out in a motor vehicle accident on the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway last week, mere months before he had planned to marry to his childhood sweetheart in October.
At his funeral service on Thursday at the Naparima Bowl in San Fernando Shahdon was remembered as an extreme talent who loved his family but stayed humble in spite of all his achievements in the sport.
His younger sister Shania said her brother was living the life-long dream of his father who nurtured him in the sport, before he passed away in November of 2002, leaving his wife Lana (Shahdon's mother) and his brother to shoulder the responsibilities.
Shania remembered being among Shahdon's siblings and cousins who he used as practice partners during his childhood days before his talent was quickly recognised at San Fernando Boys Government School, and then at Naparima College where he helped in guiding the team to an InterCol title.
At a service which was packed to capacity with members of his W Connection football club, members of the T&T team and other dignitaries, Shania said her brother went on to represent the country at every youth level, before progressing to the senior national team where he scored many goals.
San Fernando Mayor Junior Regrello, who filled in for Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, who ironically could not be there because of a death in her family, said though he did not know Shahdon personally, videos images of his life showed he was ready for his passing, due to the people whose lives he had touched, his commitment to God, and his nexus to family and friends.
Because of his love for God, Winchester who was nicknamed 'Jep' carried a bible his mother had bought for him, anytime he travelled abroad. Regrello called for his memory to live on, saying there are not too many footballers who can say they scored a goal against CONCACAF giants Mexico.
Meanwhile, William Wallace, president of the T&T Football Association said Shahdon's tragic passing was proof that tomorrow is not promised to us. He noted the one thing he learned about Shahdon life, was humility. " If it's one thing we can learn from Shahdon's life is humility, and for all of us who are charged with governing football or even to represent the country, do what you have to do but remain humble."
A tearful Renee John-Williams, the W Connection CEO said Shahdon was their spoiled child at the club and anything he asked for, the president would do his best to give it to him, such was his talent and personality.
She described him as past, present and future at the Pro League giants, whose death over the past two weeks has seen question the Almighty God, though they were taught never to do so.