Where Are They Now : Conch - Football legend shaping young minds
Linton 'Conch' Stewart, who guided the 1985 Rusea's team to Jamaica's first ever schoolboy football quadruple daCosta Cup, Ben Francis Cup, Olivier Shield and Nutrament Shield, is a living legend.
The 50-year-old Stewart, who hails from Bigwell, Lucea, Hanover, is no longer kicking balls but is moulding minds, through sports, in western Jamaica.
Stewart, who is a graduate of the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, now serves as a community development officer at the Social Development Commission. He is also general secretary of the Hanover Football Association.
Stewart told WESTERN STAR Sports that the game has not changed significantly since his playing days.
"The surfaces have improved a bit, equipment and the training methods have improved tremendously, but for some reason, the quality has not improved," said Stewart, who did a stint as a referee after he put up his boots.
"The only thing I can think is that players do not have the love as before. There are far more opportunities in terms of contracts being awarded by clubs abroad and scholarships being awarded by colleges, even at the local level," he noted.
"I don't know what is wrong, even in coaching and management," continued Stewart. "In times gone by, people were volunteering their services. Now, people are being paid huge sums and we are still not getting the desired results," Stewart said.
Easily Hanover's most decorated footballer, Stewart started out in competitive football representing the Red Devil's boys' football team in Haughton Gardens, Lucea.
The crowning moment in Stewart's schoolboy career came in 1985 when, as the captain of Rusea's, he led them to the historic four titles.
At age 18, Stewart was selected to captain the national Under-20 football team, but he never took up the offer as he was drafted into the national senior team, joining the elite band of players who represented the national team as a schoolboy.