Nezam Ahmed Hafiz: From Cricket Fields to the World Trade Center

Nezam Ahmed Hafiz: A Cricketer's Journey of Passion and Perseverance

In the heart of Queens, New York, and the cricket fields of Guyana, the memory of Nezam Ahmed Hafiz lives on, a testament to a life filled with dedication, talent, and unyielding spirit. Born on April 21, 1969, Hafiz’s journey from a promising young cricketer to a respected professional and, ultimately, a tragic hero of the September 11 attacks, is a story that continues to inspire.

Cricket Career of Nezam Ahmed Hafiz: A Rising Star

From a tender age, Nezam Ahmed Hafiz demonstrated an extraordinary talent for cricket, a sport deeply rooted in the cultural fabric of Guyana. His skill and leadership were evident when he captained the Guyana Under-19 cricket team during the 1988 Northern Telecom Youth Tournament.

This tournament was a crucible for young West Indian cricketers, and Nezam Ahmed Hafiz’s team faced formidable opponents, including a match against the Trinidad and Tobago Under-19s, captained by the legendary Brian Lara.

Hafiz’s first-class debut came later that year for Demerara in the final of the 1988/89 Guystac Trophy against Berbice, a match that ended in a draw but showcased his potential.

Despite his evident talent, breaking into the strong Guyana team of the late 1980s and early 1990s was challenging. He managed to make five first-class appearances for Guyana, scoring 40 runs with a high score of 30. Though his statistics might seem modest, they do not fully capture his potential and the promise he showed on the field.

His passion for cricket was not confined to his homeland. When Nezam Ahmed Hafiz moved to New York in 1992, Hafiz continued to pursue his love for the game. He made a significant impact in the local cricket community and even played for the United States national cricket team.

His single List A match for the United States was against the Leeward Islands in the 1998–99 Red Stripe Bowl. Although his performance was curtailed due to an injury, his involvement highlighted his enduring dedication to cricket.

A New Chapter in New York

Relocating to New York marked a new chapter in Hafiz’s life. He joined his family in the vibrant neighborhood of South Ozone Park, Queens. Despite the challenges of adapting to a new country, Hafiz remained committed to both his professional career and his passion for cricket.

Before leaving Guyana, Nezam Ahmed Hafiz donated his cricket equipment to his local club in Georgetown, a gesture that underscored his generosity and commitment to nurturing future talents.

In New York, Hafiz found work as a financial assistant for Marsh and McLennan, an insurance company with offices in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. His life in the bustling city was a blend of professional aspirations and continued engagement with cricket, including a tour to England with the United States team in 2000.

The Tragic Day

On September 11, 2001, Hafiz was at his workplace on the 94th floor of the North Tower when the unimaginable happened. The terrorist attacks that day claimed nearly 3,000 lives, and Hafiz was among them. The loss was profound, not only for his family and friends but also for the cricket community that had witnessed his journey and potential.

Hafiz’s name is inscribed on Panel N-6 of the North Pool at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, ensuring that his memory endures. Although his remains were never identified, the impact of his life and the tragic end he met remain a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring spirit of those who perish in the face of adversity.

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