“When we put God first, all things will come into place”, is one of Hasani Barnes’ personal mantras. Hasani is a wearer of many hats, he is currently one of the starting goalkeepers for Jamaica’s National Under-17 Football Team and a student of Kingston College. Not only is he an ambassador for Jamaica, but he also considers himself to be an ambassador for God. He is an active member of the Way to Life Church of God Ministry where he plays the drums, conduct praise and worship and serves as an Exhorter. Living in what most people consider to be an inner-city community, Barnes is determined to reach his full potential and prove that “good things can indeed come from Central Village”.
Hasani Barnes is quite the fighter, despite having had a challenging childhood, he still manages to overcome his struggles. Growing up in the community of Windsor Heights there have been many stereotypes that he had to face as well as many temptations that he had to dodge. He, however, attributed one of his greatest struggles to living with his father after the death of his mother:
Journey to the National Football Team
Football was never his favourite sport, as he wanted to pursue boxing. His first coach was the one who introduced him to the goalkeeper position. Below he speaks about his journey from the ‘red dirt’ football field in Windsor Heights to Jamaica’s National Football Team:
Constant practice is his formula for success. ‘The heights by great men, reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling through the night.’ This quote by Henry Longfellow is one that Hasani lives by as he works to become the best goalkeeper. One of the biggest factors contributing to his success is attributed to his faith in God. He relies on God to make all the decisions in his life as well as he tries to live by the will of God:
Football according to Hasani, sometimes ‘takes away your joy while giving you joy’. Being a footballer requires a lot of sacrifices and has a few downsides:
However, for Hasani, the good outweighs the bad and since being on the national football team, he has had a number of exciting experiences:
Putting God first, being persistent and faithful to the sport are pieces of advice that he had for young footballers. He encouraged that ‘Hard work never hides’, therefore they should work diligently and they will be noticed when the time is right:
Hasani considers Coach Wayne Morrison and Pastor Joan Smith to be his biggest supporters. Before ending the interview; he wanted to highlight some of the people who have helped him thus far along his journey:
In the future, Hasani wishes to become a Pastor and a professional footballer. Also, he hopes to be an agent of change in his community as well as to continue inspiring youth. He is currently in Sweden for a football tournament.