[:en]From my good Kiwi friend Haydn Keenan – there is nothing I can add:
‘Sad news has just come to me regarding the sudden death of Herbert Addo. Anyone at Holmewood in the early sixties will remember him. He was a most naturally gifted sportsmen and generous spirit, who’s smile and personality attracted people to him. Everyone wanted to be his friend. In the late fifties Hilary Dennis had been the dominant sportsman at Holmewood. In every sport he was highest achiever. After his departure in 1959 there was an interregnum until the arrival of Herbert. Excelling at cricket, football, rugby, hockey and squash Herbert was truly the Victor Ludorum.
He won colours in everything and if memory serves won a newspaper award for the fastest century in England one summer. The number of full sized bats Bob gave him for scoring a hundred or the miniature ones for fifty must have filled cupboards. That said I have no recollection of Herbert entering the swimming pool competitively!
He was kind, generous and even tempered. Because of him I always had a soft spot for Ghana. After Holmewood, Herbert attended Lancing College. He won the British Junior Squash Championship at under 14 and then under 18 level and captained the Public Schools rep football team in 1966. He started coaching youth teams in SE London and did his first coaching course in 1972 with former England coach Roy Hodgson.
Herbert returned to Ghana in 1972. He represented Ghana at cricket and began coaching football. His skills were recognised quickly and he coached the national under 21s, 23s and the senior team The Black Stars in 1980; pretty impressive when you think he was only 29. He is the only coach to have won five titles with four different clubs in the topflight of the national competition.
When I tracked him down a couple of years ago and telephoned, he answered and I said, “Herbert it’s Haydn “and he replied, “how are you my old friend?” Fifty years fell away in those seconds and our conversation was as one that had been interrupted for only minutes. There was still the lilt of an English accent in his voice.
He turned out to be a legend in Ghanaian sport but I think I can say he was a legend for all of us in that little school in rural England all those years ago.
He was an incredibly handsome young boy who’s looks never left him as you can see from the attached photographs.
He will be much missed by any of us who knew him and more so by his five daughters and his brothers Philip and Isaac. I spent some time with Terry Etherton in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and we spoke of Herbert at length. I’ll borrow Terry’s elegant words on hearing of Herbert’s death; “We must be inspired by his achievements and the privilege of sharing the beginning of his story.”