United Garifuna Association tribute to Rupert Anderson

Wellington Ramos, United Garifuna Association (UGA)

To The Family of Rupert “Canalayte” Anderson, Officers, Members and Friends,

On Saturday 28th April 2017, I received a text that Rupert Anderson, better known as “Canalayte”, died in Florida. This news spoiled my whole Saturday. I knew that he was ailing for years now but did not expect my friend and former teammate with our “Ubafu” 1982 championship team to die so quickly.

This text came in shortly after I got off the phone with another teammate and friend Kenrick Jones, who was on the team with us when we won the championship. Kenrick Jones and Rupert Anderson played together for the Landivar championship team before they both came to live here in New York City. The Ubafu soccer team has now lost two of our legends, namely, Gene Guild and Rupert Anderson.

Currently, the family in Florida is making funeral arrangements for our teammate and friend. Plans are currently being made here in New York City to honor our beloved friend and teammate. The officers, members, friends and supporters of our organization hereby take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and teammates. He will be sadly missed by all of us.

Our organization would also like to thank the Amandala Press for taking the time out to do an extensive interview with this football legend before he left us all which can be seen below. The time for the players and government of Belize to establish the Belize Football Hall Of Fame is now. Too many of our Belizean football players have and will continue to die, without being acknowledged for their contributions towards this great sport while they are alive.

One of Belize’s Greatest Goalkeepers

March 2017 – by Bilal Morris

Meeting the legendary Belizean football goalkeeper, Rupert Anderson, for the first time in person after seeing him play so many games as the “hard to score on” iron clad defense for first Landivar in the 1960s and early 70s, then Spurs, and later on White Label in the late1970s and early 80s, Belizean Legends embarked on one of the most ambitious productions to date two weeks ago to document the incredible story of one of Belize’s most celebrated athletes of all time. The keen vision of Belizean sports enthusiast and athlete, Evondale “Coby” Coburn, who invited yours truly to Florida to chronicle the life and times of the man they called “Canalayte,”

Rupert Anderson has got to be appreciated here. Being a visionary in many ways, Coby saw the story and pressed me urgently since the long time Belizean goalkeeper has been ailing, and found it very important that Anderson’s classic work as probably Belize’s best goalkeeper of all times be respected and not be forgotten.

Spending some quality time at the home of Anderson’s sister, Glenda Guerrier, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he is excellently cared for, and chatting with him in detail about his vast sports history as a Belizean football player and legendary athlete, “Canalayte” was most inspired himself about the story, and took me through the journey of his sports life while getting his brain power fed by memorable photographs of the golden age of Belizean football that he remembers so well.

Our two days of just discussing Belize’s football era that is not there anymore, prior to the interview, was a necessary prelude to the awesome interview that was to come. It prepared Canalayte well, though he confessed to be in great pain and discomfort as we spoke for hours, and would retire to bed occasionally to rest. He would soon return again shortly to continue the previous conversation.

Anderson’s sense of humor was most expressive, especially when he was joined by his long time best friend and team colleague, Knox Bennett, who also flew in from Los Angeles, California to celebrate with his dear friend and team player. Just sitting there listening to these two men’s conversation about football, entertainment, and life in Belize, thrilled me emotionally, and made me trip off into “memory lane” as to how spirited and full of happiness and joy that period of Belizean football greatness was. These were sensational historical moments that will not again return to Belize, and were described so passionately in Evan X Hyde’s book, “Sports, Sin & Subversion”.

This is just a prelude to one of the most sensational interviews ever done by Belizean Legends about Belize’s football greatness of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. We remember with the deepest respect and appreciation the dynamic work laid down in Belize’s football history by the athlete they called “Canalayte”, one of Belize’s most skillful goalkeepers.

Rupert Anderson is quite a renaissance man in his own right, and won my admiration and respect as he described crucial chapters of Belize’s football history despite his illness as he turned 70 years old. He did it all in Belizean football, and is hailed today as one of Belize’s greatest athletes. Surge on, Canalayte. Live in this life like you are going to live forever. And thanks for talking to Belizean Legends, champ!

May his soul rest in peace and he will be sadly missed by all those people in football, especially those players who had the opportunity to play with him on the same team. He was all about winning and would do any and everything to win his games.