Where Are They Now? : Kenneth Gaynor, Rusea’s dazzling striker
When 10-time champions Rusea’s High School qualified for their first daCosta Cup finals in 1982, their big hero was pencil-slim striker Kenneth ‘Blacks’ Gaynor, who scored a whopping 20 goals in the season, which featured far fewer games that we have today.
Gaynor, a product of Mt Salem in St James, was considered such a potent striker that while he was still a student, he was drafted into the national senior football team and went on to represent Jamaica against countries like Haiti, Canada and Colombia.
“It was a joy to represent my country, playing alongside the great Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis,” said Gaynor, who interestingly had a trial stint with Derby County in England, alongside Davis. “I can’t remember exactly how many games I played for Jamaica, but I enjoyed every single one.”
With a playing career that included representing former national champion Wadadah FC for numerous years, Gaynor still beams with pride as he recalls leading the team to the National Premier League title back in 1988.
“Today, my focus is on helping young players to master the basics of the game so that they can become future stars,” said Gaynor, who now serves as a part of the coaching staff at Munro College in St Elizabeth. “If we invest quality time in developing our young players, we won’t have to look overseas for players in the future.”
Gaynor, who came to attention representing St James High School, then Montego Bay Secondary School, where he was captain of the 1981 team which won the GraceKennedy All Island Secondary School Football Championship, believes a good foundation is the key to success.
“When I left St James High and went to Rusea’s, I was ready to shine because I had a good foundation behind me,” said Gaynor. “At Rusea’s I got the chance to further develop and ultimately became a well-known and respected striker.”
Gaynor wants today’s youngsters to have positive role models like he did, so he is all for creating youth football academies all around the island, with former national players in charge.
“The youngsters need to have good role models around them, players who have been there and done that,” said Gaynor, who said meeting Brazilian legend Pele and taking a photograph with him is one of his most cherished memories.
“I want to be a good role model to the youngsters around me because the future of Jamaica’s football lies in the hands of our youths,” he said.