Mount Salem playing futsal for peace
Chief organiser of the Goals for Peace futsal competition in Mount Salem in St James, Dr Andre Haughton, is proud of the initiative, which is geared at uplifting the people of the community, which has been declared a zone of special operations (ZOSO).
The league, which is put on by the Valley Foundation, in association with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as the Mount Salem Peace Management Initiative and the Mount Salem Citizens’ Association, is played under lights at the Mount Salem Junior High School on weekends.
Last Sunday saw Temple defeating Paddler Lane 1-0, thanks to a goal from Nick Shaun.
In another game, Kevin Gates’ lone strike gave Deanland a 1-0 win over Telloville. The third game played out a 1-1 draw between Palm Scheme and Mangingo. Christopher Reid scored first for Palm Scheme before Iron Thompson secured a point for Mangingo.
“What we realised is that the young people, if we engage them through sports and another types of community engagement activities, we have more peace within the community. In the summer, we have the original ‘corner’ league, which is played at the community football field, but now, we have the futsal being played here at the Mount Salem Junior High School court,” Haughton said.
“This is a monumental court built way back in the ‘70s, and most of the greats in Jamaica played football here, including Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, Winston Anglin, Durrant ‘Totti’ Brown, and many more. Mount Salem has really been the home of football in Montego Bay, and the quality of football here is second to none,” he added.
“The young people here are more interested in football than violence, and even though the ZOSO is taking place, we have hundreds of people turning out on the weekend.”
Lisa Blair, community development coordinator for the Peace Management Initiative, said that the community is responding well to the programme.
“Football has always brought the community together, even when we have teams from lanes that were always at war with each other. Most of the time, the two teams that are in the finals are the ones that are always at war. It’s been bringing out a lot of persons, the young, the old, the ladies, and the kids,” Blair said.