Back in the 'Hunt' after nine years of pain

April 18, 2017
Craig Hunter (right) celebrates his goal with his Arnett Gardens teammate Jamar Jackson during their Red Stripe Premier League game on Sunday.

After nine painful years away from football, Craig Hunter returned to Arnett Gardens in glory by scoring a 43rd-minute goal in his first match on Sunday.

The former youth star striker was sidelined by a serious leg injury sustained during a Under-20 game for his home town Arnett Gardens against rivals Boys' Town at Collie Smith Drive in 2008.

A subsequent surgery three years ago was paid for by Arnett Gardens' manager Richard Bennett (aka Charlie Chaplin), whom Hunter thanked.

"I approached him (Chaplin)," Hunter told STAR Sports.

"All now, me don't finish give him thanks as yet, but me want to give him more thanks for the chance to continue playing football," the 28-year-old former Trench Town High and Charlie Smith High Manning Cup star added.

During the time away from the pitch, Hunter played non-competitive football with friends.

"I knew it was a matter of time before getting back into action for Arnett. It was my focus. I just love the game and passionate about it. I believe in myself and did a tattoo over my heart, saying 'Believe'," he disclosed.

Hunter's road back started in the Red Stripe Premier League preseason last July.

He also did some gym work for strength and conditioning. Then, with nothing to play for in the team's last preliminary round game against Boys' Town, Hunter was given a starting role by coach Waite.

He duly obliged with a goal that tied the score at 2-2, after Arnett fell down 0-2 in the Red Stripe Premier League game last Sunday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

"I have been working, working, working, until the coach finally gave me a start, and I delivered," he explained.

"With the faith and power that I have, I want to tell the youth that this is a lesson about not giving up on your dream. Over nine years, I came back, so anyone can do it with that strength and belief," he said.

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