'DV' Hayles recalls fond memories as youth footballer


'DV' Hayles recalls fond memories as youth footballer

...Today, former J'can goalie says God at forefront of cancer fight

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

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Former national goalkeeper Donovan “DV” Hayles, who has had his battles with prostate cancer, says he is doing well as he responded to questions in the ninth week of Harbour View FC's Instagram Live interview feature “My Journey”.

The diminutive goalkeeper, who starred for his community Harbour View and Kingston College, revealed some interesting information on how he got in between the sticks at Tivoli Gardens FC ahead of former Mayor of Kingston Desmond McKenzie, now minister of local government.

Hayles is regarded as one of the best Jamaica goalkeepers of all time, who has won many titles as player and coach. One of his first major club titles is winnng the Under-16 Minor League competition and later the country's top football tournament, the Premier League, with Harbour View.

Hayles, who was part of KC's triumphant Manning Cup team in 1970, also represented the North Street contingent in the Sunlight Cup cricket competition.

But his journey has been a long one and he spoke of the influence of his brother Ewan “Shanny” Hayles, who guided him throughout his football development. Hayles joked about how, as a schoolboy, he got into “big man football” at Tivoli Gardens Football Club.

“I had just finished training with the juvenile team (Jamaica Under-19) and my brother Shanny came for me and said he was going to watch the game between Tivoli Gardens and Golden Aces at Stadium.

“Shanny was rushing, so I didn't get to bathe, but he told me when we reached he would get a bathroom. Shanny knew everybody,” he recalled.

Young Hayles would eventually get into the Tivoli changing room for his shower only to quickly emerge as their number one goalkeeper as the team's number one was missing in action. The goalkeeper, “SuperFly”, had migrated that morning, leaving for America, and so the team was stranded. “The only goalkeeper they had was Desmond McKenzie, but he wasn't much of a goalkeeper,” Hayles recalled with much laughter.

Shanny heard of Tivoli's plight, and offered his younger brother's services, albeit a suspicious super-quick registration, and DV was thrust into the starting team.

“My father didn't know about it, but when he read it in the newspaper that was trouble. He knew it was Shanny's fault,” said Hayles.

In his lengthy but informative interview, which was done in two parts, Hayles also spoke of his family relocating from Trench Town to the new settlement of Harbour View in east Kngston.

He recalled racing a determined Archie Richards on the streets of Harbour View. Richards, the father of American 2012 Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards and sports journalist Dwayne Richards, ended up being his chief motivator when they both played Minor League football for the 'Stars of the East'.

Richards, Hayles recollected, was a deadly free-kick specialist and whenever he scored from the spot and put his team in front, Hayles knew he could not afford to let in any goals as he would not hear the end of it from his close friend.

He also delved into his battles with some of Jamaica's hardest kickers of the ball in Romito Hill and Allie McNab of Boys' Town fame.

But before all that, the moderator of the programme, Clyde Jureidini, who captained Hayles during his Minor League days and now the general manager of Harbour View FC, asked him to update his many followers on his health.

A few years ago, Hayles was diagnosed with cancer and he has been living in the United States ever since, battling the dreaded disease.

“The experience that I went through brought me closer to the Father [God]. He answered every prayer and I am a living testimony to what God can do for us, and I must say to my family again it was wonderful, great, the support that was given to me and the love that was shown,” said Hayles.

“I have been to the doctor and now he just wants to see me once a year. I really don't want to see him again. Once a year good enough,” said Hayles, in a cheeky flash of his notorious sense of humour.

He continued: “But it's the Lord that pulled me through, so he is the one I speak about each and every day.”

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