Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cyprian Fernandes: Silu's tribute to Alu

From left  Tyson (Alu's grandson wearing  Alu's Olympic blazer), Leo Fernandes (Olympian), Sylvester Fernandes (Olympian) Teresa Mendonca-Mandricks (sister), Hilary Fernandes (Olympian), Erika Mendonca-D’Silva (daughter), Norman Da Costa (journalist) Kulwar (Olympian), Raphael Fernandes (Olympian), Ronald, Julius, Jadon (Alu's grandson), Chloe (Alu's granddaughter) Avito and Paul Nazareth who both played with Alu in the Railway Goan Institute Gold Cup winning side.

The late Alu Mendonca's daughter Erika at a memorial in Toronto

This was Sylvester (Silu) Fernandes' tribute to Alu at a wake following the Service of Remembrance at St. Martin of Tours  Parish in Mississauga Friday March 31.

On March 10, 2017, the Field Hockey Team in Heaven became a force to reckon with as they were joined by the world's greatest left wing.....  My friend, Alu Mendonca.

Alu's unique playing style coupled with his speed and finesse made him a decorated hockey player who was feared by some of the greatest international teams and players in the game. He was a symbol of the game that meant so much to us as his team mates, and sadly his passing has now dimmed some of that lustre for many of us. 

I have poignant memories of growing up in Nairobi with Alu,his Mum and Dad his siblings Anne,Pius and Teresa, his wife Alba and their children Derek, Erica and Cora-Lisa. Those were the days !!

Aside from being teammates at the Railway Goan Institute and the Kenyan National Team, Alu and Alba,were very dear and close to my darling Ivy and I. Thus it is so fitting that on the 11th October 1964 as Alu and I helped Kenya tie with Zimbabwe and warming up for our match versus Pakistan the next day, at the Olympics in Tokyo, our wives gave birth to our two sons Derek and Neville, whom the local newspapers touted as the "Olympic Babies".

To-day it seems so appropriate that on October 16 of last year, when a few former Olympians and I got together for a drink at The Credit Valley Golf and Country Club in Mississauga, we reminisced about our hockey days and made a video in which I toasted my dear friend Alu, as the best ever left wing that the world had seen.

My greatest joy is that I had the pleasure and honor of playing alongside this legend. Since his demise, often times I will watch that video with much nostalgia and remember the good old days. Many of you in this room will also have viewed that video .... perhaps like me, a few times over.

Looking back on his life I am sure that my dear buddy would have been proud of his life's many accomplishments, and as significant those achievements may have been, they would all pale in comparison with the person that he was. A loving husband, a devoted father, an adoring grandfather, and a wonderful and caring friend. We are all better people for having known a man by the name of Alu Mendonca! 

March 10, 2017 will remain as a sad day for me because I lost a great friend and the hockey world lost a legend ..... 

Rest in peace my friend and please save me a spot on your team in Heaven.

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