The power of the game
Street football unites polarised community of North-East St Andrew
THE community of Shortwood Lane in nort-east St Andrew exploded on Sunday, December 22, with a street football festival that saw a rare gathering of a sometimes divisive community.
It was the culmination of the Grants Pen Football Street League that was held in the middle of the streets in Grants Pen and ran for 13 weeks to culminate in the heat of the Christmas celebrations with the semi-finals and final.
The event was sponsored by Mathew Wright to the tune of $545,000.
Shortwood Lane, led by Jason Wright of Wolmer's Boys' Manning Cup fame, beat Young Blood 1-0 in the final to walk away with the $80,000 first prize and the Street League Trophy, along with several other prizes. Sadeki Whyley scored the deciding goal that was set up by Wright.
Second-place finishers Young Blood pocketed a nifty $45,000 along with medals and gift baskets from Wisynco.
With music early in place to summon the community, the countdown began at 10:30 am with the playing of the semi-final matches with Shortwood defeating Italy 1-0 in the first semi-final. Young Blood then marched past Morgan's Lane in the second to set up a keen showdown.
Italy then edged past Morgan's Lane in the third-place play-off to take home $35,000, plus medals and certificates.
Referees for the events were Kemar Williams and Gregory Earl.
More importantly, the tournament and the final day of activities sought to rekindle the spirit of the entire community that is often polarised by crime and violence.