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Author Topic: Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka  (Read 2283 times)

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Offline Tallman

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Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
« on: March 30, 2008, 07:05:03 AM »
Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
By LeVaughn Flynn (Jamaica Gleaner)


IT'S 12:30 on a busy Thursday afternoon. We're on the 16th floor of the Hilton hotel, Kingston, and Shaka Hislop is preparing for an interview.

We are in a brightly lit room and the 6' 6" former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper is seated in a comfortable armchair surrounded by representatives from three media houses.

He may be seven months into retirement, but Hislop still commands media attention. After 15 years of playing professional football, mostly in England, Hislop remains in the public eye as part of a three-man team on ESPN Soccernet Press Pass and one of four 'players' in the weekly Sportsmax/Gleaner Prediction Panel.

"I'm a lot busier now," Hislop says as he has makeup applied for a TV interview. "While I was playing I had practice for two or three hours a day, then I had the rest of the day to myself. Now I'm involved in a lot more and it's taking more of my time."

Nostalgia

It was the day after Jamaica had outplayed Caribbean neighbours Trinidad and Tobago at the National Stadium, only to settle for a 2-2 draw. Hislop, a former national captain, was naturally happy with the result, though admitting Jamaica's dominance. There was also an element of nostalgia as Hislop made his international debut against Jamaica in June 1998, a game they won 2-0.

The former Trinidadian pro footballer retired last August after a season with FC Dallas in the US and spending 14 years playing with four clubs in England. Hislop is also a World Cup hero of sorts, with a memorable performance against Sweden in 2006 as the World Cup debutantes denied the Europeans their expected goal flurry and miraculously held them to a 0-0 draw thanks to some spectacular saves.

"That was a special moment," Hislop says as his lips part into a smile.

He was born Neil Shaka Hislop on February 22, 1969 in Hackney, London, England while his father pursued a law degree but soon moved to his parents homeland, Trinidad and Tobago, at two years old when his dad, George, had completed his studies.

He attended St Mary's College then won a football scholarship to Howard University in the US. While at Howard, a scout from Reading spotted him and invited him to a trial. He later signed with Reading in the Division Two League and joined David James, the current England goalie who has Jamaican roots, as the only black goalkeepers in the league at the time.

Throughout his career in England, he went on to play Premiership ball with Newcastle, Portsmouth and West Ham United, on two occasions, then later FC Dallas.

Hislop, 39, now lives in Dallas with his wife, Desha, and five children (four girls and a boy), the latest addition being nine-month-old son, Luca.

"He's a lot quieter than my girls which is surprising," Hislop jokes.

What hasn't been funny, says Hislop, is the animosity between Trinidad's World Cup players and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).

Hislop, who also serves as interim president of the Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago, has been heading negotiations for money owed to them from their 2006 World Cup appearance.

However, what dominates Hislop's time is his job as a football analyst on ESPN. Though he's dealing with a familiar subject, Hislop admits that commentary is a discipline that takes some getting used to. This coming from someone whose had much harder tasks such as interning at NASA headquarters in Washington DC

Hislop reveals more on football, family and everything in between.

On the match
"I thought Jamaica played quite well until they started making the substitutions. The Reggae Boyz were the better team for most of the game but the substitutions on both sides had big impacts."

On his name
"My mother was always going to name me Neil but my father wanted to give me a name that reflected our African heritage so he named me Shaka after the Zulu king and I've always gone by my second name."

On his proudest moment
"It doesn't get any higher than the World Cup. I know a lot of the fans and the players felt the same way I did about hearing the national anthem for the first time at a World Cup - it was a big thing for everybody.

"I shed tears in 1989 when we fell at the last hurdle and I was too young to remember '73, so it was just nice to be there and be a part of it."

On the Sweden match
"The day before I was told I was going to be the number three choice. Kelvin Jack (starting goalie) had a slight calf injury so it was touch and go, but Kelvin seemed to be fine. I went on to the pitch to warm up and about 10 minutes before the match Kelvin said he was struggling with his calf; he couldn't make it. Leo Beenhaker (coach) came over to me and asked me if I was ready, which I wasn't expecting, but it was an opportunity I wasn't going to turn down.

"The big topic of discussion was how much we were going to lose by as opposed to whether or not we were going to lose it. So just to match them as we did for 44 minutes with 10 men and to put on as brave a display as we did - it was a big moment for all of us and it was reflected in our celebrations."

On his career
"West Ham is where I felt I played my best football and certainly where I enjoyed playing the most. I loved Newcastle because of the players I played with and the manager I played under.

"At FC Dallas it was (iffy). I sort of wanted to make my way back across the Atlantic and get closer to home and Dallas offered me that opportunity. And I felt I was starting to go stale (in England) and thought that a change would do me and my career good, but it turned out it was just time to call an end to my career."

On family
"My father had the most impact on my life. I think because he didn't grow up with his father I was the beneficiary of a lot of love and guidance and understanding.

(As for me), I get a lot of satisfaction from watching my children grow and being around them."

On indulgences
"I love sports cars. If I weren't playing football I'd want to design cars, which is why I did a degree in mechanical engineering. When I was in England I had a Maserrati and it pained me to trade it in when I was leaving. Now I have a Jaguar S-Type R and that's a real lovely car.

"I also have a desire to learn how to fly and getting a pilot's licence.
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Offline Quags

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Re: Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2008, 08:04:13 AM »
Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
By LeVaughn Flynn (Jamaica Gleaner)

Nostalgia

It was the day after Jamaica had outplayed Caribbean neighbours Trinidad and Tobago at the National Stadium, only to settle for a 2-2 draw. Hislop, a former national captain, was naturally happy with the result, though admitting Jamaica's dominance.

Hislop is also a World Cup hero of sorts, with a memorable performance against Sweden in 2006 as the World Cup debutantes denied the Europeans their expected goal flurry and miraculously held them to a 0-0 draw thanks to some spectacular saves.
I tought is only jamaican posters on this site ,is shit we up in smart eh .


Offline weary1969

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Re: Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2008, 11:29:23 AM »
Nice article on 1 of d over rated me we ever produce
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Offline Bakes

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Re: Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2008, 11:55:48 AM »
Damn...I ent realize (or maybe ah di'n remember) dat Shaka dat blasted tall, lol.  Good interview I actually learned a lot more about him that I expected...particularly love the role his father played in his life and career, no wonder he used to represent Shaka in negotiations, de man have he law degree.

Offline JDB

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Re: Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2008, 12:04:33 PM »
Damn...I ent realize (or maybe ah di'n remember) dat Shaka dat blasted tall, lol.  Good interview I actually learned a lot more about him that I expected...particularly love the role his father played in his life and career, no wonder he used to represent Shaka in negotiations, de man have he law degree.

More than just having the degree, he's a former magistrate.
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Offline Bakes

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Re: Sunday Chat - Scoring an interview with Shaka
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2008, 12:22:22 PM »
Damn...I ent realize (or maybe ah di'n remember) dat Shaka dat blasted tall, lol.  Good interview I actually learned a lot more about him that I expected...particularly love the role his father played in his life and career, no wonder he used to represent Shaka in negotiations, de man have he law degree.

More than just having the degree, he's a former magistrate.

Oh okay...I wanted to say "he's a lawyer", but one doesn't always follow from the other.