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Amin – living up to his name not only in sports

By Jamila Cross athletesdiscovered@gmail.com

St Benedict’s College in Trinidad and Tobago is renowned as the beacon of both academic and athletic greatness, with outstanding alumni the likes of Warren Archibald, Leroy De Leon, Richard Ali, Victor Edwards, to name a few who have excelled and represented T&T at home and abroad.

This tradition of excellence one can certainly say is inextricably intertwined with the school’s motto Nihil Omnino Christo-‘Christ Above All’.

In 2021 St Benedict’s will celebrate its 65th anniversary, and I take delight in featuring a teacher making immense strides at the college, Amin Forgenie who wears many hats, as a father, physical education teacher, coach, administrator, technical director and who possesses a humility that is disarming.

A few weeks ago, I was patiently teaching my two-year-old son Santiago to ride when what seemed like a random act of fate/faith turned into a serendipitous moment of God’s faithfulness.

A charming gentleman called out to me and asked whether I wrote for the Catholic News. Upon acknowledging, he proudly indicated he was an avid reader of my column, and politely suggested that I could possibly interview his son Amin Forgenie, National U-19 cricket coach and physical education and sport teacher at St Benedict’s College.

I agreed and was not a bit disappointed by my interviewee’s humility and grace in the midst of all his successes experienced with the many roles he holds. What I continue to realise is that we have so many citizens quietly making invaluable contributions to the head, heart, and lives of our young people, and we must begin to consistently archive and preserve the rich stories of our community icons, national heroes, and legends for posterity.


Multiple sporting disciplines

Amin describes himself as a country boy from the sleepy, rural community of Moruga. At 17 years, he entered the teaching service in his hometown and was given a posting at BasseTerre Primary School. He studied at Corinth Teachers College, and subsequently Moruga RC.

He would later move on to Princes Town Junior Secondary, and onto his current posting at St Benedict’s College where he has been the physical education and sport teacher for the last 12 years. He teaches basketball, track and field, badminton, hockey, football, cricket, and dragon boat as part of the curriculum. In 2019, Amin was shortlisted among five finalists for the Frank B Seepersad Memorial Teacher of the Year award. He not only has the technical knowledge, but still plays cricket and football as he describes in fun ‘fete’ matches, and he has represented the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association in the sport of cricket at the Caribbean Union of Teachers Games. “Once it is a game, I am in it.”

St Benedict’s College has been known traditionally for its football exploits. In 2008, Amin admits that he took a fledgling sport at the time at the college and transformed the cricket programme into a very successful one; to the effect that St Benedict’s has consistently had players selected for both the national and West Indies teams. It is a tremendous achievement, and a collective effort all round.


Under–19 coach

Amin’s ascension to the role of National U-19 Team Head Coach has created a lot of buzz in the cricketing fraternity. In 2017 he was appointed as Head Coach of the Secondary School’s Cricket League’s tour to England. It was an U-16 tournament that hosted teams from Europe, Asia, and the USA and it was the first time in the tournament’s history that a team from Trinidad and Tobago emerged as winners.

This success he believes caught the interest of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, and in 2019, Amin was chosen as the Head Coach of the National U-19 men’s cricket team.

He notes fairness, attention to detail and a desire to see hard work from himself and his players as keys to his coaching style. Amin states that his current focus is winning a regional title with the U-19 team.

“I have a strong desire to win, to perform at the highest level, and to see the holistic development of my athletes. I want to continue developing standout players who can represent at home and abroad.”

Amin Forgenie’s academic credentials are par none, as he holds a Master of Science in Sports Management, BA in Physical Education and Sport, and his Teaching Diploma.

He has furthered his coaching with international certification, attaining Cricket Australia Levels 1 and 2 Cricket Coaching Course, West Indies Cricket Board –Coaching Education and Accreditation Program – Level 1, IAAF Coaches Course – Level I (track and field), and the FA Youth Coaching Course (football).

When I asked him how he manages with the politics of sport in all the different capacities he represents, he suggested his credo that he holds on to: “performance beats ole talk”.

Amin hopes to continue his role as a teacher, with the aspiration of eventually becoming a school principal. His desire is to use sport, culture, and spirituality as key pillars in producing more productive members of society.

In his capacity as a coach, he desires to continue impacting the lives of the young person he interacts with, while continuously elevating his coaching resume in order to enhance himself and the lives of others.

The name ‘Amin’ means “faithful, loyal, and true-hearted”. His faith grounds him in the knowledge that his life is guided by God. “I live by the tenant that God is always in control, if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”


Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.