GREMIO manager Ashky Charles has heaped praise on Caribbean Welders Fishing Pond League organiser Prakash Ramkissoon who has been hosting the annual football tournament for 30 years.
Charles was speaking last Saturday following his team's 3-2 victory over Boys Town in the final at the Fishing Pond Recreation Ground. The Coalmine-based club won $15,000 and took home the lion's share of individual awards including MVP, Best Defender, Best Goalkeeper and Most Disciplined Team.
"This victory means (a lot) for Coalmine. I does try to keep the youths from straying; you know the time we living in, it's serious. The football is part of the thing that does keep them away (from bad influences); they come train, we play weekend and they kind of occupied. It's not about coming and play for a tournament (an that's it). We have a small ground where we wlive and it has lights so we train from about 7pm to 8pm then take a little sweat after," he said,
Asked why he chose to get involved in sports in his community, Charles said: "Just the love, I have to keep a hold of them. I have one or two others that assist me with keeping them together and off the block. We have to be real, it (criminal elements) existing and football keeps them away from it."
Charles, 33, said he was relieved to see Gremio clinch the title after losing the 2014 and 2015 finals, but said being named Most Disciplined Team was also a proud moments.
"It's not just coming and playing football, it's about keeping a positive (outlook) with the youths and showing them a way from all the negativity. I bring discipline – as you see we get Most Disciplined Team – and it's a discipline I'm instilling. I'm a police on suspension and I'm seizing this opportunity to take some of my time and shed some light on some of the youths," he said.
Ramkissoon, speaking to Newsday recently, said he was proud to keep the league running even as sponsorship has been hard to come by due to the state of the economy. Ramkissoon said the league has come a long way since offering a first prize of $300 in the late 1980s, with recent winners collecting $40,000. This year, the first prize was $15,000 and Ramkissoon thanked all participating teams for helping keep the Fishing Pond community vibrant throughout the year with exciting football in display.
Fishing Pond Awards:
MVP – Rickel Dickson (Gremio)
Best Defender – Rickel Dickson (Gremio)
Most Goals – Andell Allsop (Take That and Cool It)
First Hat-trick – Andell Allsop (Take That and Cool It)
Best Goal – Alvin Boisson (Take That and Cool It)
Most Goals (Team) – Gremio
Most Disciplined Team – Gremio
Best Goalkeeper – Teffon Alvarez (Gremio)