The FA has bestowed its 2020 FA & McDonald's Grassroots Football Award for Adult Coach of the Year posthumously to London's very own Farouk Menia.
Farouk Menia was an exceptional man.
A humble immigrant from Tunisia, he came to the UK with few possessions. His selfless ambition was to take the opportunities that he hoped his new life would present him and work hard to make enough money to support his family back home.
But there was something else about this remarkable man: he lived and breathed football.
Soon after arriving in the UK, Farouk became the coach of AFC Phoenix, a women’s team that would eventually merge with Dulwich Hamlet during his seven year tenure.
Farouk was a personable man, a passionate man with all the qualities you could want in a coach and more besides. His impact and effect on the team culture was huge and immediate. He brought the players together not only as a team, but as an extended family.
On a tiny budget, they thrived against big clubs including QPR Ladies and Fulham Women, succeeding thanks to Farouk and his coaching. Despite his humble living, he would appear at training with ankle braces or physio bands for injured players, paid for out of his own pocket. He would drive the team around and even make the end of game sandwiches.
Football was Farouk’s lifeline. Despite battling cancer over recent years, he continued to coach and encourage, often in the rain and freezing cold. Sadly, just prior to lockdown and in the middle of the season, Farouk Menia passed away.
He will be forever remembered for all he gave to the club and its players, many of whom, after long breaks or injury, fell back in love with football again thanks to him.
A fitting tribute from those who benefitted immensely from his incredible efforts.
Rest in peace, Farouk.