Guyana vs. El Salvador-Win, lose or draw, Kayode McKinnon has decided to call it a day
By Michael Benjamin
He has been a regular feature on the Guyana national team from the tender age of 15 years and has been a prominent figure in the midfield position since then. Now, at 32 years old, Kayode McKinnon has decided to call it a day and will be singing the swan song when Guyana tackle El Salvador in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in El Salvador tonight.
Kaieteur Sport spoke with McKinnon mere hours before he was scheduled to lace his boots and the dapper midfielder confirmed the news. “It has been an exciting and productive ride and when I would have completed my duties in El Salvador I will not be wearing the Golden Jaguars jersey again; I am retiring,” he intimated.
He said that he has dedicated the greater part of his life to the sport and plans continue in this vein, only this time he will be more involved in activities within the Kayos Football Academy, an institution that utilizes the talent of former stalwarts in the elevation of current players.
McKinnon said that he has enjoyed his tenure in the sport and had played at all levels. He also captained the squad for a while.
He said that he played his first senior game at 18 and still cherished that moment. He also played professional football ball with several overseas clubs between 2000-2011in such institutions as Doc Kehawalas, Tobago United, Joe Public, Caledonia, North East Stars of Trinidad and Tobago as well as Los Perfectos of Jamaica.
McKinnon also practiced his art in Barrucudas while engaged in activities in the United States Soccer League.
His travels also took him to Spain for a stint in Las Palmas with Vincindario while he has been an important cog in two Linden teams, Bakewell Topp XX and Hurricane while he was merely 6 years old.
The prolific ball weaver is adamant that his achievements were orchestrated by a higher power and he is indeed cognizant of this. “Towards this end I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for blessing me with such phenomenal talent; I have learnt that when you fearlessly let your light shine you unconsciously influence such fortunes in your colleagues and for me that has been the defining moment in my career,” professed the midfielder.
He spoke of the virtues of hard work and commitment even as he implored the need for discipline and selflessness. “I really love football but there comes a time when you have to move on and though I prefer to be reticent pertaining to relevant details of my decision, I would only advocate that in life the only constant is change and I am merely conforming to that theory,” concluded McKinnon.
He credits dedication, perseverance, honesty and a staunch belief in his ability as the catalyst to his many successes. The young man is adamant that he could not have achieved his many feats alone. He is especially grateful to his mother, Lachlanand Gloria McKinnon who he describes as his first teacher. “She has taught me to be humble without compromising my beliefs,” said McKinnon. His siblings also came in for high praise for their integral input in his sports life. They included Shelly, Marlene, Marsha, Monette and Sonjia, whom he regard as his biggest supporters.
The young man did not forget his many fans who trudged to the fields to render support. “They spent their hard earned money to visit the venues and offer support; the love and respect were immense and I cannot leave the arena without acknowledging such valuable support,” he said.
McKinnon is optimistic that despite the team’s fluctuating fortunes over the months while vying for a spot in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, that his colleagues would go on to win tonight’s game and progress to the next stage of the competition. “I would like to wish the entire team the best in the future and I hope their activities will spark interest in football in Guyana.
He has a parting word for young aspiring footballers who might be encountering debilitating challenges and are on the verge of giving up, “Finally to those who feel frustrated and disillusioned because of your slow advancement in the sport, I say to you, it is not what you are called but what you respond to that defines your character.”
The retiring footballer urged aspiring footballers to trust in the word of God and they would assume great heights.