'Ali' Cole, son of Allan 'Skill' Cole, is dead
Excelsior High School and the local football fraternity are struggling to come to grips with the sudden passing of Allan 'Ali' Cole Jr, son of legendary Jamaican footballer Allan 'Skill' Cole.
Cole Jr was at home on Sunday when he had to be rushed to the University Hospital of the West Indies, suffering from a suspected heart attack. He was pronounced dead on arrival. He was 46.
An elegant midfielder with great vision for a pass, Cole Jr captained Jamaican great Walter Boyd when he led Excelsior High to the Manning Cup title in 1992. He afterwards played briefly with Arnett Gardens and Constant Spring before migrating.
He returned years later after completing his education abroad and has been an integral part of the Excelsior Manning Cup programme for more than a decade.
"He is a big supporter of the management team. We see him every day, so it is a big blow for us and it will have a psychological effect on us, not just the players but the entire staff and school community," said the school's sports administrator, Xavier Gilbert.
"He has never left out Excelsior. He has been around the last 10 years and is one of the persons who worked behind the scene. So it's a big blow to us because it came so sudden. He was here Saturday, yesterday, and to hear the news early this morning was devastating," Gilbert added.
"The youngsters might not really show their emotions immediately, but the fact is that the closeness he had with the boys is going to affect them. We had a few counsellors for them this morning," Gilbert pointed out.
"Whenever we are on camp he is here with them at nights. He spends two to three hours with them every night and that used to be part of his routine. He is a former captain so he helped to motivate, so it's a big loss and not one easily replaced," he added.