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Egbert Carmo Fernandes (1941 – 2014)

by Dil Bahra

Kenya Hockey Team on tour of India, April 1964 Back Row (L - R): Surjeet Singh Jnr,; Saude George; Anthony Vaz; Amar Singh Mangat; Egbert Fernandes; Sang Singh; Edgar Fernandes; Jack Simonian; Jagnandan Singh. Sitting (L - R): Hardev Singh; Hilary Fernandes (V.Capt,); Hardial Singh (Coach); Anthony D'Souza (Manager); Sukdev Singh (Asst Manager); Avtar Singh (Capt.); Alu Mendonca. Ground (L – R): Santokh Singh; Arif Khan; Silu Fernandes; Leslie Pinto; Reynolds D'Souza.

Kenya’s triple hockey Olympian, Egbert Carmo Fernandes, died in Canberra, Australia on 6 November 2014.  He was aged 73.

Egbert played as a forward for Kenya at three Olympic Games – Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968. He scored goals at each of the three Olympic Games.

Born in Kisumu, Kenya on 25 June 1941, he made his international debut in 1958 when he was selected to play against England in Nairobi, Kenya.

He played for Goan Institute Nairobi and was a member of the team that won the famous M. R. D’Souza Gold Cup in 1961.

He represented Kenya during the period when the country was at her peak in international hockey and was a powerhouse in world hockey. Kenya played India and Pakistan regularly, both home and away. Kenya finished 6th at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, the best position in the country’s Olympic history.

Egbert was a member of the Kenya team that toured India in April 1964. Kenya defeated India 0 – 3 on their home soil in the 5th test match in Jubalpur with centre forward Egbert scoring two goals. Six months later, the same Indian team won the Olympic Gold in Tokyo.

The team that defeated India in Jubalpur, is still regarded as one of Kenya’s best ever team - Jack Simonian (G/K); Anthony Vaz (RB); Avtar Singh Sohal (capt) (LB); Santokh Singh Matharu (RH); Surjeet Singh Panesar (CH); Silu Fernandes (LH); Hilary Fernandes (RW); Edgar Fernandes (RI); Egbert Fernandes (CF); Reynold D'Souza (LI); Alu Mendonca (LW). 

On hearing the sad news Jack Simonian, Egbert’s team mate at the three Olympics said “very saddened to hear about Egbert passing away. I can still remember him in his slim and lean body dribbling the ball past a lot of opponents with a ‘faint’ of his body”.

His funeral service is in Canberra on Friday 14 November 2014.

Egbert is survived by his wife Bertha, sons Vincent and Wallace and daughter Joanne.

Sikhs in Hockey

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