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18
Fri, Sep

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All in the family.

Hislop–I bet this name sounds familiar. If you’re wondering whether he’s related to former national goalkeeper, Shaka—the answer is yes—“we're cousins,” he tells me. Makan Hislop’s famous genes don’t stop there. His uncle is former national youth player Nigel Davidson.

Growing up among sporting superstar Dwight Yorke also had its advantages.

“Dwight would visit us a lot and we would kick ball. He and my dad realised I had good technique,” he said. “They always encouraged me to play.”

Their sentiments were reinforced when the young defender brought home all the MVP trophies for Hope Anglican Primary, during the Primary Schools Football League.

His sure footing became even more apparent during his stay at Signal Hill Secondary School, where he was considered one of the best players on the team.

The early bird
Besides being blessed with great genetics, the former National Under-20 captain’s good fortune on the field comes from hard work.

He said: “My dad always used to say, ‘Makan whatever you want to do in life, you have to start young’. When I told him I wanted to play football, he was like ‘OK, we need to work on it now.’”

Like an army sergeant training his troops, Hislop’s father would wake his children up every day at 4 am to exercise.

“My two brothers and I would run up and down the mountains and on the beaches close to our home, while my dad timed us,” he shared.

Though Hislop was the youngest, it soon became evident that he was the fastest and most athletic.

“I would always reach back before them. They were bigger and stronger, so I focused on being faster and more skilful,” he asserted .

Hislop’s hard work did not go unnoticed. He remembers being rewarded with ice creams and in one case—a bicycle.

Dealing with loss
Success followed Hislop into his college years at The University of South Carolina. He played as a rookie in 14 of the school’s 18 matches in 2003 and notched the first goal of his career against the College of Charleston later that year.

While at university, an overseas phone call would change his life forever.

“My brother called and asked what I was doing. I was driving. He told me to pull to the side of the road. Immediately I knew something was wrong. He told me dad died last night. I went into shock. I started to cry like a lil boy.”

Hislop knew his father—who was only 50—was not in the best of health, but news of his death hit him hard.

The distraught “daddy’s boy” sat at the side of the road for an hour, as he tried to come to terms with the loss.

Overcoming
Today, Hislop is a promising footballer. His past has taught him to be “strong” and “independent.”

A true all-rounder, Hislop excelled at school, graduating with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration, with a specification in Human Resources and a minor in Hotel Restaurant Tourism Management.

Dreaming big
Now living in Marabella, Hislop is adjusting to life in Trinidad.

He said: “I’m quite a rebel. I love being independent. Living away from home doesn’t phase me.”

For this ambitious charge, the future seems bright, possibilities…endless.

“I see myself progressing, playing for the best teams in the world and being paid well,” he noted with a laugh.

“It’s just sad that my dad, who was the driving force behind my career wouldn’t be around to see it.”

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