Thu, Sep

Tobago-born defender Makan Hislop wants to live up to his father’s expectations of being the “next Hislop” to be on the National Team and subsequently go on to play in a World Cup.

The former 2001 National Under 17 player and captain of the National Under 21 team was recently invited to attend a training  camp in South Carolina but had to withdraw at the last moment after his father William Hislop passed away due to kidney failure. However, the T&T coaching staff kept faith in young Hislop and subsequently invited him for training among 41 other players last month and the towering defender proved his worth to head coach Wim Rijsbergen to seal a spot in the 22-man squad named to contest the Digicel Caribbean Cup starting on Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“When I got the invitation for the camp in South Carolina, I had to sit it out because my dad passed away and I had to rush back home for funeral. That was not easy for me but these things happen and I have had to gain strength and move on. Coming to this recent camp comes as a second chance for me not just as a footballer but generally as a person,” Hislop told TTFF Media on Tuesday.

“Now I want to do it for him (father) because he was the driving force for me as a youngster coming up. He would wake me up early for training and he would be the one to say that I had to be the next Hislop playing for Trinidad and Tobago. He's not here to see me play for the team but I know he’s proud that I got selected so I’m happy in that regard. Now I want to go on…" added the ex-Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive player  who is a relative of the T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop.

The University of South Carolina standout revealed that he didn’t know what to expect initially  when coming into the camp last month.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect because when you hear senior national team you tend to think Dwight Yorke and Stern John and the rest of the World Cup players so that made me a little nervous at first but still I was excited because it was always going to be a big opportunity. I was preparing myself for it and then when I got here and realized it wasn’t going to be all the pros well then I felt slightly more comfortable not that I was afraid before though. But I settled in well and I am still very excited about the tournament.

“This is my first pick on the senior team so it will be interesting to see how I make that transition. It’s the first step towards me really making a statement on the international stage, said Hislop.

He expects that the current T&T team , inclusive of ten debutants, will rise to the call from Friday against Barbados.

“Based on what I have seen in training, I think we have some good talent and of course guys with character. We haven’t played games to see what will happen but I still feel good about our chances. We’ve been sharp and I like the way the sessions have been running. Now it’s down to game day for us to put it all together.”

The 21-year-old Hislop is in his final year at University where he expects to graduate in May with a Bachelors degree in business administration and a minor in hotel and restaurant management.  Of course, playing professionally is high on his wish list. He is rated as one of the dominant and most consistent players on the South Carolina team.

“I haven’t had any solid offers but definitely I want to go on to play professionally. Making a good impression and helping the country do well is a priority and of course going on to play professionally is one of my main ambitions,” Hislop concluded.

He was part of the team which checked into the Crowne Plaza on Tuesday for the duration of the tournament and will be on the field for continuing sessions at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Wednesday.