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Find the fun in football - SSFL ambassador Hislop encourages players to love game

By Sports Desk March 05, 2019
Shaka Hislop. Shaka Hislop.

Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) ambassador Shaka Hislop has encouraged athletes to first and foremost enjoy the sport of football.

The 50-year-old former national player turned television pundit, is himself a former alumnus of the SSFL where he competed for St Mary’s College.  The former Newcastle goalkeeper has been brought on board this year to serve as an inspirational source and lodestar for players taking part in this year’s competition.

“That’s what I would continue to encourage everybody who plays, play because you enjoy it and you’ll see where your talent takes you. Don’t focus on what one person is doing because that’s an entirely different story, they have their own unique path,” Hislop told the T&T Newsday.

With several young players focused on Europe, Hislop also advised youngsters to look further home where the North American league could be a viable option.

“It continues to be a viable alternative.  You can also come through the secondary school level (in TT) to get into college football. I played because I enjoyed the game. I didn’t think I would have ever played professional, that came as I grew and developed.”

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    The 49-year-old Hislop, who spent 10 years in the EPL’s top flight where he represented Newcastle and then West Ham is expected to play the role of mentor for burgeoning T&T schoolboy football talent.

    According to Hislop, who attended St Mary’s College as a young player, claimed the decision to take up the position was a no-brainer.

    “It was a pretty easy decision on my part.  I’m a product of the Secondary School’s Football League (SSFL).  I’ve always been a huge admirer of what it brings and what it offers to young men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago school system.

    “I know how big a role it played in my own football development.  So I’m more than happy to lend a hand in hopes that it can do the same for some of the other,” he added.

     In his role as ambassador Hislop is expected to conduct clinics with coaches as well as visiting schools to give inspirational addresses.  At the end of the season, he will be selecting an All-Star team.  Hislop made some 26 appearances for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

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