Lennox ‘Mulling’ Arthur remembers his first national Coach
By Sean Devers
It all began 47 years ago when former Suriname Footballer Auguste ‘Cha Cha’ Wooter was appointed Coach of Guyana’s first ever youth football team. He also was Coach for the National U-17 and U-19 teams from 1967-1970.
It proved to be a life changing experience for at least one member of that under-17 squad when Coach Wooter unknowingly inspired Lennox ‘Mulling’ Arthur to become a Football Coach four years later.
Wooter, who was in his late seventies, died at 04: 00hrs on Friday morning and his funeral is scheduled for this Friday in his homeland. The Dutchman’s contribution to the development of Guyana’s Football, especially at the youth level was immeasurable.
It was the year after this Country had gained Independence from the British in
1966 and Arthur like most young Guyanese, his mind was pregnant with so many dreams none more than becoming a great footballer and representing his nation with distinction.
After his playing days he became a Coach from 1971 before quitting in 1987 when most of the players in the National Senior team he was coaching absconded, in the USA. At that time he was also the Vice-President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).
“I played in the first ever Guyana youth team and I would go as far as to say that ‘Cha Cha’ was unmatched as a Coach. When he came here he changed the whole style of Football in Guyana. He was so good that most of us who he coached went on to become National stars,” Arthur disclosed.
Players like Arthur, Clyde ‘Farmer’ Browne, Donald ‘Casa’ Neblette, Michael Pierre, Micheal Hamden and David ‘British’ Woolford all came from the youth ranks.
Clyde ‘Woody’ Forde and Clyde ‘Oiler’ Watson were former senior players who passed through Coach ‘Cha Cha’s’ hands.
“He was a great Coach because physically, mentally and psychologically he was able to get the best out of the players. He was at his best working with the youngsters and he knew how to psyche up the players to get them to perform,” Arthur disclosed.
Arthur gave an example of Wooter’s ability to get into players’ head when they were under pressure. “In 1969 I was already an established youth player and we were playing Barbados in a four-way youth game which also included Trinidad and Grenada.
“All of my South Georgetown fans came to see me play. In those days there was a stand at GFC which was called the ‘Ungrateful Stand’ because of the group of old men, mostly former footballers, who would go to that area. Nothing would please them and they would heckle you non-stop if you were having a bad day,” Arthur continued.
“I remember dribbling the Bajans and with only the goalkeeper to beat, twice throwing away clear goals. I was playing outside right and men began to heckle me, saying their grandmother would have done better than me. To make matters worse, one of the Bajans then scored to give Barbados a 1-nil lead. I was so depressed,” Arthur recounted.
“Coach ‘Cha Cha’ called me to the sideline that I was playing for my club, my South Georgetown people and most of all my Country, not the people in the ‘Ungrateful Stand’ adding that they had no say if I was taken off or not. This little talk inspired me score two goals while Micheal Pierre scored one as we won 3-1,” Arthur said.
Arthur will be attending the funeral of Coach Wooter who also coached in Suriname, Grenada, Trinidad and USA. The 63-year-old says most of this generation know nothing about Coach Wooter.
Only last year the Point Fortin Civic Center football team hosted an official reception for the former St. Benedicts College coach Wooter at the Point Fortin City Hall.
Her Excellency Fidelia Graand-Galon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Suriname to Trinidad and Tobago, was specially invited to attend and participate in the function.
Coach Wooter’s contribution to football in Trinidad dates back to the 19602 s, with footballers from South and North Trinidad and Point Fortin in particular being the beneficiaries of his teaching. This all led to Trinidad and Tobago’s excellent performance in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers held in Haiti in 1973. Coach Wooter’s student footballers went on to provide the nucleus for the start of the North America Soccer League (NASL) during the 1960’s and 70’s.
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