SHAKA HISLOP, the former Trinidad and Tobago football team goalkeeper and captain, was impressed with the staging of the Tobago Football Legends Challenge, which was held at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet, Tobago last weekend.
“I think it was a huge success,” said the 46-year-old. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. The turnout from the fans was fantastic and, when you get that kind of atmosphere in the stands, it makes it a whole lot better and so much more fun for us out on the field.”
Hislop was making a return to competitive action in the twin-island republic since retiring in August 2007. He said, “coming back to Trinidad, or Tobago, is always a pleasure. The Hislops have deep roots here in Tobago so for me to come and play, even though its well past my best, it always means a lot to appear.
“I felt they appreciated what we are doing and we appreciate certainly they coming out in their numbers,” he added.
The former Reading, Newcastle, West Ham and Portsmouth goalie was also impressed by the fan support at the venue for the two days.
“I thought the turnout (on Saturday) was great,” Hislop said. “I thought the turnout was far greater than expected.
“I’ve been a part of these tournaments in the past but again, even though on another level, how Tobago has responded to us being here, I don’t think we can ask for anything more.”
Hislop also touched briefly on the state of Trinidad and Tobago football, regarding the off- field saga involving former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special advisor Jack Warner. “That will take care of itself,” Hislop noted. “But football has needed an opportunity to clean up its act, to re-establish credibility, and maybe this is that time.”
As far as the men’s team’s progress is concerned, Hislop stated,“on the field, you can look back at the last result against Jordan. I think that was particularly disappointing.
“But I remain a huge fan and I have faith in Trinidad and Tobago football, not just in the short-term but also the long-term,” he continued. “I don’t mind judging on our progress but I think things are coming together slowly but surely, though it might not be reflected in the results right now.”
The tournament ended on Sunday, which was celebrated worldwide as Father’s Day.
The ESPN football analyst pointed out, “Father’s Day is always a special time for me. The only thing is this is the first Father’s Day I haven’t spent with my kids. My eldest is now 19 so this is my first ever Father’s Day where I wasn’t with my kids.
“My wife (Desha) is here in Tobago and I’m hoping my kids will make it up to me (today) when I get back. So, in many respects, it’s a benefit so I get two Father’s Day when everybody gets one,” he ended.