The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association has extended deepest sympathy to the family of Atiba “Teba” McKnight, following his passing on Monday. The former Trinidad and Tobago youth and senior international passed away at hospital.
McKnight, the 37-year-old former Naparima College forward, had been ailing for some time but lost his brave battle with his illness.
TTFA president William Wallace paid tribute to a “young coach with tremendous potential and promise”.
“We are deeply saddened at the TTFA following the death of Teba. I remembered him as a standout with Naparima College in the SSFL and I knew of his ongoing development as an upcoming coach in the Central Football Association and the Elite programme. We have lost yet another young man who possessed great love and passion for the game, showing tremendous potential and promise to go on to greater things,” Wallace told TTFA Media.
“We pray that his family receives the strength and support that they will need during this most distressing and painful time. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
McKnight played for the national under-20 team under Tobagonian coach Peter Granville in 2000 and as a young player also had a short stint with the senior men’s team under Brazilian Rene Simoes.
Following his Naparima days, McKnight played for George Mason University in the United States. Later, he played for Charleston Battery in the USL 1st division (better known as the A-League).
At one point, McKnight and another local talent, Silvio Spann, were on trial with Italian Seria A club Perugia, where he expressed a thrill to have been training with Brazilian Ze Maria and Italian international Marco Materazzi. McKnight played for local clubs Joe Public, W Connection and Club Sando as well.
“Teba”, who lived at Couva, was once a coach with the TTFA elite programme and also a coaching instructor. He was also the youth technical director for the Central Football Association and had his own youth academy.
Coaching instructor Anton Corneal, who worked with Teba during the TTFA Coaching education courses, said, “His ability to analyse the game was way above average. He had all the qualities of a top level coach. His coaching temperament and demeanour was ideal for the development of young players. He would surely be missed as a fellow coach and friend. May God bring comfort to his family.”