Former Soca Warriors captain Dwight Yorke has joined the calls for a possible review of Trinidad and Tobago’s citizenship law, as he believes a constitutional reform would substantially increase the nation’s player pool, and with it, their chances of FIFA World Cup qualification.

Unlike Jamaica and other countries across the region which have tapped into their heritage players from England and elsewhere, it is not the same with the twin island republic, as chapter two, section 17 (ii) of their constitution states that “A person shall not become a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, if at the time of his birth – (a) neither of his parents is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve last year pointed out that such a law is hampering the expansion of Trinidad and Tobago’s football, since the majority of other Caribbean territories can invite players whose grandparents have local lineage, to represent their nation on the international stage.

Yorke concurs, as he is also of the view that the legislation has Trinidad and Tobago on the back foot, and is hampering the nation’s chances of progressing, while other countries hold a clear player-selection advantage.

“I think also we’re on the back foot where we’re not opening up to…and I say this openheartedly, that I feel that we’re kind of stifling our opportunity to recruit players,” Yorke told reporters after the Legends All-Star match last week.

He continued: “You’re seeing all the other countries being able to recruit players, and that’s a big factor. We’re a small country and we don’t have many people to choose from. So, anybody with any type of nationality that is linked to T&T that player of a certain level, could only be a benefit for us, so why deprive that.

“That’s something we need to look at, the people and heads of state are the ones to make that decision. But I think we are limiting ourselves by not allowing people who had something to connect to T&T in a bloodstream type of way, having to go through the difficulty of getting the passport.”

That said, the 52-year-old former Manchester United striker, like others believes the 2026 FIFA World Cup represents Trinidad and Tobago’s best chance of making another appearance at the global showpiece to follow their historic 2006 showing.

This as Concacaf powerhouse teams –Canada, Mexico and United States –have earned automatic spots by virtue of being hosts and, as such, will not be a part of the upcoming qualifiers scheduled to begin next month.

So, with three direct qualification spots, plus two more available via an inter-confederation playoff, Yorke said it represents a grand opportunity for Trinidad and Tobago to capitalise. Eve’s side is drawn in Group B alongside Bahamas, Costa Rica, St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.

Dwight Yorke (right) in discussion with other Soca Warriors legends.

“(There’s) five opportunities for us to qualify. It’s never easy but the opportunity is really good for us. If we really get the government, heads of state, sponsors, public sector and people to really invest in football, and give Angus and team all the resources he needs then it can happen,” he reasoned.

“We need those little things to go our way to really improve the quality that we’re so lacking at the moment. Let’s hope the World Cup campaign is something that is really on a positive note and you see the support we have, let’s hope that continues,” Yorke added.

With legends like himself, Russell Latapy and others, having laid the foundation for the current generation to follow, Yorke said the onus is now on those players to make the most of the opportunity to achieve great things on their journey. He again stressed the positive impact that World Cup qualification can have on not only Eve and his players, but more importantly, the country.

“Sometimes you need to take a step back to go forward again. The World Cup campaign is something positive. We need something really positive to happen in the country because there’s so much negative coming out. Let’s hope the World Cup campaign is such a positive one that it rubs off on the younger generation,” Yorke shared.

“It certainly did when I was growing up. We’re probably a bit of a dying breed the Russell, Shaka Hislop and Stern John, the guys who had the opportunity to play abroad. Let’s hope it will encourage the younger boys. The foundation is there, and the opportunities are even greater. You put your work in, and you get your reward,” he ended.

With the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) now back to regular proceedings, former Soca Warriors goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is optimistic that it will bring with it good fortunes that will see the twin island republic qualifying for another FIFA Men’s World Cup.

Hislop’s sentiments came during an endorsement of recently-elected TTFA president Kieron Edwards, who he believes is best suited to steer the country’s football and finances back on track, as he foresees a bright future for football.

In fact, Hislop, who was Trinidad and Tobago’s custodian at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, expressed delight that the association is no longer under the thumb of the Normalisation Committee, which was installed by FIFA in 2020.

The Normalisation Committee had a mandate to manage the daily affairs of the TTFA, establish a repayment plan for the debt-riddled organisation, review and amend its statutes –and other regulations, where necessary – and ensure compliance with the statutes and rules of the world governing football body.

“I was very critical of the Normalisation process, and I remain so. I felt our football needed to be in our hands. We needed to chart our own path and answer to our own stakeholders. And now with President Edwards in place, we have that,” Hislop said during Grenada’s 100 Years in Football Legends Match in the Spice Isle recently.

“We have that opportunity again to do that. It’s a big opportunity for us to maybe try to rediscover a lot of our game, and our football, and what it means to us. Both in terms of our performances on the park and in terms of how we provide those opportunities and platforms that I did, and I was able to enjoy when I was a kid coming through,” he added.

Having benefitted immensely from a decorated career with the Soca Warriors, Hislop is now hoping to return the favour by assisting aspiring players to chart the course towards a successful career of their own.

“T&T as a country, T&T football as a sport, has given me an awful lot, more than I could ever repay for, and more than I think many people recognize. And that will always be my focus, how can I support young men and women who are trying to find their way in the sport,” he declared.

That said, Hislop pointed out that the chances of Trinidad and Tobago making another appearance at the global showpiece remains highly possible, but it will require the right mentality and financial backing to achieve the feat.

Trinidad and Tobago enjoyed a fairly successful 2023 Concacaf Nations League campaign in which they made the quarterfinals and secured an historic win over United States.

Angus Eve’s side missed out on Copa America qualification, but they have a grand opportunity to possibly secure a spot at the 2026 World Cup, especially with the confederation’s powerhouse teams –Mexico, United States and Canada –securing automatic qualification as hosts, and as such, will be absent from the upcoming qualifiers.

“If they stick with it, if they are given the right tools, if they’re given the right coaching, provided the right mentors and the right opportunities, I’m sure the game will give back to them in an enriching way as it did to me,” said Hislop.

“My dying dream is to see T&T qualify for a World Cup so I can go there as a fan. I was to go and experience T&T playing in a World Cup, purely as a fan. I’m hopeful that I’ll see that,” he ended.

Former Trinidad and Tobago representative Shaka Hislop lauded the move to keep Angus Eve at the helm of the senior men’s programme for an extended period, especially with the scheduling for what will be a busy 2024 campaign.

Eve's initial extension from September 2023 to March 2024, was merely to lead the Soca Warriors into Copa America playoff battle against Canada on March 23, but he was later awarded another contract, which will be for the duration of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualification campaign.

Hislop, the decision to keep Eve beyond the Copa America playoff was a common sense one.

Eve guided the Soca Warriors through a fairly successful 2023 campaign in which they secured League A promotion in the Concacaf Nations League. Beyond that, Eve also saw the team to a memorable 2-1 victory over United States in Nations League second-leg quarter-finals action, which followed their second-place finish in the group stage, where Trinidad and Tobago toppled Curacao, El Salvador and Guatemala.

“It sets the stage for what is needed for a campaign in terms of the qualification for World Cup 2026,” Hislop said during an interview on the i95.5 Sports programme.

“It makes a lot of sense, given how thick and fast the games are coming. I am not sure there is any sort of opportunity for any change over, if a changeover was deemed necessary. So purely from a continuity perspective, it makes a lot of sense,” he added.

Though admitting that he knew little about the country’s football association’s financial status, Hislop also believes Eve’s extension made sense from a financial perspective, even as he distanced himself from the political aspects of things.

“I don’t have many thoughts on T&T football and the reason being I don’t feel we can advance; I don’t feel with the NC, that is in charge of T&T football, there is any sense of accountability. No one can say if they are doing a good or bad job,” Hislop argued.

“They are in place, in power because of a FIFA mandate. That is the only body that they have to account to. So we have a football leadership that doesn’t have to account to the stakeholders of T&T football, to the fans of T&T football. So our failing or our success, relative as they may be, are irrelevant until they have somebody to account to,” he opined.

On that note, Hislop pointed out that the upcoming TTFA elections were necessary to restore order in how the country’s football is handled.

“It is a step in the right direction in terms of regaining that sort of normalcy and who we are—in charge of our own affairs...It is important that we at least get back to that starting point. Otherwise, I just felt that we weren’t going anywhere,” he said.

“(The new members of the executive) have to appease the fans, the greater good of T&T football. Now your primary responsibility cannot be to those men who hold the greatest power in world football and so, again, the longer lasting impact, the stagnation of our football...we can only guess at. My belief is everybody that comes in will have to recognise who their primary responsibility is (to). It is no one on these shores,” Hislop ended.

Trinidadian-born football analyst and former professional goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop, had a frightening moment during a live broadcast on Sunday night while covering AC Milan and Real Madrid's friendly match at the Rose Bowl in Southern California.

Thankfully, he is doing well after collapsing on air.

The incident occurred while Hislop was in conversation with ESPN's Dan Thomas right before the game. Suddenly, he started swaying on the sidelines and then collapsed, falling face-first and slightly hitting Thomas. The broadcast immediately cut to commercial as viewers were left in shock by the alarming scene.

Shortly after the incident, Thomas provided an update on social media, reassuring concerned fans that Hislop was conscious. During halftime of the match, Thomas went live again to give further information, stating that Hislop was both conscious and talking. He also mentioned that Hislop had expressed his apologies for the incident. However, specific details about what caused the collapse or his current condition have not been disclosed.

Seeing the incident unfold live was undoubtedly a distressing moment, but Thomas provided some relief, sharing that they had spoken to Hislop's wife, and things were looking okay. The incident raised concerns among fans and viewers, but the update on Hislop's condition brought some comfort.

Shaka Hislop, 54, has had a remarkable career as a professional soccer player, spanning 15 years. Notably, he was the starting goalkeeper for Trinidad and Tobago's men's national team during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Hislop also played for prominent clubs in Europe, such as Newcastle United, West Ham, and Portsmouth, before joining Major League Soccer's FC Dallas for two seasons. He retired from professional soccer in 2007.

Lionel Messi has earned the right to do whatever he wishes with his career, but Shaka Hislop would love to see the Argentine superstar head to MLS.

Messi seems set to leave Paris Saint-Germain after the expiration of his contract.

Christophe Galtier said on Friday that Messi would be playing his last game for PSG when the Ligue 1 champions host Clermont on Saturday.

While the club subsequently told AFP that Galtier had "expressed himself incorrectly and that the match against Clermont would be Messi's last at the Parc with PSG this season", according to L'Equipe, it does appear to be the end of the road in Paris for the 35-year-old.

It has been reported that Barcelona are eager to take Messi back to Catalonia, and there is interest from Saudi Arabia, where Karim Benzema is seemingly headed and Cristiano Ronaldo already plays.

MLS side Inter Miami have long been credited with an interest too, however, and former Newcastle United, Portsmouth and West Ham goalkeeper Hislop - who ended his own career in the United States with FC Dallas - would be thrilled to see Messi head across the Atlantic.

"It would be incredibly huge for MLS, which continues to grow in so many ways," Hislop told Stats Perform.

"I think it brings eyes to this league, it brings an appreciation of this league that has based a lot of its growth around bringing young and exciting South American talent to MLS.

"So to have a not-so-young but exciting South American talent in the league does wonders for it.

"I'm a huge fan of MLS, and its growth because I went to university here, so I know exactly what US Soccer was like through the late 80s and early 90s.

"So to see how it's developed today, I think has been incredible just to witness, so I would love to see him in MLS and have had the sport get that exposure like only he can bring."

Messi joined PSG in 2021 and has played a direct part in 66 goals (32 goals and 34 assists) since making his debut, a tally bettered only by Kylian Mbappe (106) among his team-mates in that timeframe.

Yet Messi has at times faced criticism from PSG's fanbase, especially after he was suspended by the club for a making an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

Hislop, though, says Messi deserves to play wherever he wants.

"I think Lionel Messi has given this game so much, and at this point, do whatever you want," he said.

"We'll comment and pass judgment on it but he's given this game so much of his life. He's given us all so much to appreciate. I'm all for Lionel Messi doing whatever he wants. I really am."

Former Trinidad & Tobago goalkeeper and current ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop believes it will be a long time before CONCACAF elects another Caribbean president after the scandals surrounding former CONCACAF Presidents Jack Warner and Jeffrey Webb.

“I don’t anticipate, despite the political strength of the Caribbean nations within CONCACAF, another CONCACAF president from the Caribbean or the CFU for quite some time,” Hislop said during the Caribbean Conference on Corruption, Compliance and Cyber Crime held virtually last week.

“You have two presidents back-to-back, both black men from the Caribbean, both swept up in that scandal and, as a result, I think regionally there was a lack of trust around Caribbean administrators,” he added.

Canadian businessman Victor Montagliani has been CONCACAF president since May 2016.

Trinidad’s Warner served as CONCACAF President from 1990-2011. He was indicted on fraud charges and banned from all football-related activities by FIFA for life in 2015.

US prosecutors allege that from as far back as 1990, he leveraged his influence and exploited his official positions for personal gain.

Among other things, the 79-year-old former football administrator is accused of receiving US$5 million in bribes to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup. 

In November this year, Warner lost his fight at the Privy Council against extradition to the United States on corruption charges.

Webb, a Caymanian, took the reins as head of CONCACAF from 2012-2015. 

In May 2015, Webb was arrested for corruption charges by Swiss police acting at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. That same month he was banned by FIFA Ethics Committee and ,in November 2015, pleaded guilty and agreed to forfeit more than US$6.7 million.

“We are living that legacy; We are still hoping that people take notice of the Caribbean. We are not able to advocate for ourselves and, for me, that is a desperate position for us to be in but that is the position that we have found ourselves in because of the legacies of those two people,” Hislop said.

Hislop, who was born in London and represented clubs like Newcastle United and West Ham United throughout his 15-year career, said he hopes some good comes out of the situation.

“Longer term, I hope that what has happened forces change, not just in Caribbean or Concacaf football, but in world football. Recognizing how easily the system can be perverted and how you need to have those checks and balances to better serve the global game.”


Former Trinidad and Tobago international Shaka Hislop was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law by the University of Newcastle for his work with Show Racism the Red Card during a ceremony at the university on Wednesday.

The 53-year-Hislop, who made 53 appearances for Newcastle United from 1995-1998, currently works as a football pundit on ESPN FC. During his time at Newcastle, Hislop used his influence to combat discrimination after an incident in which he was racially abused by a group of youngsters at a petrol station opposite the club’s ground, St James' Park.

In 1996, he was instrumental in the founding of Show Racism the Red Card. That work continues today.

He shared on Instagram his gratitude for being recognised.

“Fifty-five years ago, Newcastle University bestowed Dr Martin Luther King with an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law. Dr King’s speech was a call for racial equality, a sharing of those responsibilities regardless of where you call home,” he said.
“Dr King’s and NU’s legacies continue to shape the civil rights responses of today.

I am humbled that Newcastle University deemed me worthy to receive an Honorary Doctorate as well. I accept in recognition of the thousands who have supported, contributed, volunteered and worked for Show Racism the Red Card.

“I accept in recognition of all who remain undaunted by the task, who give of themselves knowing they may never savour an equal world themselves.”

In closing, he thanked Newcastle University Chancellor Imtiaz Dharker, Vice Chancellor and University President Chris Day as well as Show Racism the Red Card founder Ged Grebby as well as Matin Cox, who nominated him for the award.

He also expressed gratitude to his wife Desha Hislop and his children.

A goalkeeper in his playing days, Hislop made 26 appearances for Trinidad and Tobago between 1999 and 2006. During his club career, he was also the man between the sticks for Reading, West Ham and Portsmouth in England before playing for FC Dallas during the 2006/2007 season.

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