Saluting Shaka

The curtain has officially come down on a stellar 15-year career for Shaka Hislop. A star of the surprising Trinidad & Tobago '06 World Cup run, the 38-year-old goalkeeper is calling it quits, taking off the gloves for good at the conclusion of the Shaka Hislop Tribute Cup, a four-team mini-tournament played in his honor on the islands.
Hislop suited up for 15 minutes with his final professional club, Major League Soccer outfit FC Dallas, and then switched sides for ten minutes of action with the local Pro League All-Star team in the testimonial match, played on Sunday at Hasely Crawford Stadium. In the end, Hislop would allow the only goal of the game, a skillfully crafted strike from Devon Jorsling that left Shaka scratching his head just three minutes after entering the game.

"I was thinking, 'geez, I haven't touched the ball yet," he said after the competition. "I found myself a bit exposed but it was a really well-worked goal. I just had to laugh. I really enjoyed myself though."

Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense proved to be the superior side in the competition, walking past a home-grown T&T all-star squad by a score of 4-1 to take home the honors in the inaugural edition of the tournament.

As the final game wrapped up, the celebration of Shaka's accomplishments was just beginning. The former Newcastle, West Ham and Portsmouth netminder was saluted by the 2,000 fans in attendance with a standing ovation and also picked up a $100,000 from the Pro League. Out of that money, $30,000 will go to the Football Players Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT), of which Hislop is the honorary president. Similar sums have been allotted to the Cotton Tree Foundation and another Tobago charity yet to be determined.

"I have had 15 fantastic years in football and to go out like this is very special," said Hislop. "I feel very honored and I was really taken aback by some of the tributes, particularly the kind words expressed by callers while I was on various radio and television programs over the past few days."

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