Santokie eight-a-side building vibes in Race Course
West Indies all-rounder Krishmar Santokie is hoping to contribute to development while motivating his rural community of Race Course in Vere, Clarendon, by staging the Santokie Eight-a-Side Football Competition.
"Because of the violence and crime, I just decided to organise some funds and see if I could just get back the place lively and happy," said Santokie of the competition, which is played on Thursdays and Sundays.
"It's all about giving back to the youth, because them not doing anything and everybody loves football, so this draws people together. You come and play and enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, we try to let them know you have to have discipline and be determined to achieve," he said.
Santokie first represented West Indies in the Under-15 Costcutter Cup in England in 2000, then made his Jamaica senior debut in 2007-08.
He has since featured for the West Indies, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica, Jamaica Tallawahs, Mumbai Indians and West Indies A.
The cricketer is greatly respected by his community folk and remains encouraged by the turn-out on match days, following the start on Heroes Day, October 19. The competitors are vying for cash prizes, trophies and medals.
"I was a footballer in high school, ... (but) things changed and the opportunity presented itself with cricket, (but) football and my community are two things I love," Santokie pointed out.
He added that his project has got good corporate/community-based support from the member of parliament, councillor and some business places.
"I am not the one who is gonna run away from where I am just to go live somewhere else. I decided that I am here and we are respected in the community, so I have taken the responsibility to plan and execute this community idea," he assured.
"Inside, I really feel good to know I tried something and it worked. It's not about going on the street and a man beg me a $1,000 or a $200. It is about community partnership, unity and building the community vibes and helping youths," Santokie told The Gleaner.