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Champions PHC keep Marco Warren at fore of celebrations

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Deandre Smith-Lightbourne with Marco Warren T-shirt (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

PHC's title win on Tuesday night proved to be an especially emotional experience for family members of former captain Marco Warren.

Striker Enrique Russell and midfielder Keishon Bean were overwhelmed by emotion after helping PHC retain their crown and dedicated the moment to the memory of their cousin, who died in May last year.

“I am still up there from the game and that was the best feeling that I've felt ever in life,” Russell told The Royal Gazette.

“I have had a son and I love my son, but that felt just as big, and doing it for Marco I know he is proud of us.

“Marco, in my mind, is the greatest player Bermuda has seen for a while and his dedication for the game is hard to replicate. So to lose him and still do exactly what he would want us to do, in the way that he wanted us to do it, just means everything.”

Enrique Russell (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Russell netted what turned out to be the winner in PHC’s 3-2 win over Village at Flora Duffy Stadium.

“That was the biggest game of the season and I don't know if it can be put into words how much that means to us as a club and as a family, to know that we can do it,” he added.

“I dedicate every single time I step onto the pitch to Marco, my father [Tokia Russell] and Mazhye Burchall, who all had a big influence on how and why I am here today.

Banner honouring Marco Warren is flown at the national stadium on Tuesday night (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“It just so happens Marco's situation hasn’t been resolved yet so I make sure that every single time I play his name will live on through me. If you think of me scoring you will see that Marco matters, and that's the biggest message that we are all human and have to look out for each other.

“I just have to carry his name wherever I go and I will never let his name be forgotten. I miss him so much and he is a big miss, but he will live on through us I promise you that.”

Russell said his cousin’s death has brought PHC even closer together this season.

“We all lived and played with Marco, but when he left we coped by being around each other, because that's where we saw him the most, as a team,” he said.

“It was hard but we came together as a team and we are a family-run club, which is why I love this club so much.

Bean described the championship win as a “bittersweet” moment.

“It was just very emotional because before the season we were told we couldn't do it without Marco and we just proved everybody wrong,” Bean said.

“It was very bittersweet because obviously we would have wanted Marco to be there winning his second one as a captain, but it's great to do it for him.”

Bean said PHC had endured their share of struggles as they gradually came to terms with the loss of their captain.

“It definitely had its emotional times throughout the year and there were moments where people were frustrated,” Bean said.

“It was lot of frustration throughout the year and was never always straightforward with us, but I think that only improved our football because we wanted to achieve something as a whole, so everybody stayed as a unit, as a family, and was able to get the job done.

“We knew we had to go into this game to win, which I think added to the excitement. We made it hard on ourselves but we stuck together and everybody knew it was no case of backing down.

“We have beat them throughout the year so we were confident going into this game.”

Wendy Warren with son Marco (File photograph)

Observing the match from the stands was Warren’s mother, Wendy, who was moved by the heart-warming tributes paid to her son by his former colleagues after the final whistle.

“When the guys finished the game, it wasn't so much a celebration of the win but celebration of the memory of Marco,” she said.

“There was quite a few tears and they were shouting “Marco Matters”, so it wasn't for glory but the memory of Marco.

“The connection with all his team-mates is really palpable. Marco made a difference in their lives and has inspired them and touched lives. Marco mattered.

“I was happy for the community because the community lost somebody that didn't just play football but touched lives. Marco once said ‘if I am only remembered for football, then my life has been lived in vain. Only a life lived for others is worth living.’”

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Published April 05, 2024 at 7:02 am (Updated April 06, 2024 at 8:11 am)

Champions PHC keep Marco Warren at fore of celebrations

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