Former national goalkeeper Shaka Hislop feels that football in T&T has not moved forward in the last three decades due to the lack of changes at the top of the local administration as well as the country’s generally “laid back” attitude.
Hislop made the statements during the ongoing Atlantic/Ministry of Sport Leadership Symposium at the Cascadia Hotel Ball Room, St Ann’s, yesterday. The ESPN pundit said he had been disappointed by the lack of progress in T&T football over the years.
“Not a lot has changed. As much as people may say we’ve gone backwards, I think its just stagnant, and when you stagnate in today’s world you inevitably find yourself trying to play catch up which is always difficult in a country with just 1.5 million people...
For us to compete at the highest level, we have to do things better than everybody else and I don’t think we’ve done that...The same faces have been involved in T&T football for the last 30 years and yet they still wonder how or why things haven’t changed.”
Hislop said people also needed to look within themselves and adopt a more productive attitude. “I’ve heard it too often from too many people that ‘This is T&T and this is how we always do it.’ Well if this is how we’ll always do it then don’t expect us to move forward. It comes down to the individual. It’s not something any government or social institution can fix. It’s only something we can fix as individuals.”
On the issue of the 2006 World Cup team’s supervised raid of the T&T Football Federation’s offices in February, the 43-year-old said it was a necessary step in the ongoing legal battle between the two parties. “It had to be done. Given the judgment by the court, we felt that we needed to take some kind of action.
Not so much for what we could get, but to send a message that the TTFF has to at least address our concerns because at the time I don’t think it was done effectively.”
An Engineering graduate from Howard University, Hislop played professional football for teams such as Newcastle United, West Ham United and FC Dallas throughout a career spanning from 1992 to 2007. The symposium ends today with an address by Minister of Sport Anil Roberts.