Sun, Aug

Ahkeela Mollon

The unpatriotic shooting to the leg of one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most promising football stars, Keron ‘Ball Pest’ Cummings, on Sunday, has plunged the national football community into a state of shock and disbelief.

So much so, that national female footballer Ahkeela Mollon was forced to relive her lucky escape of gunfire between warring gangs in Enterprise, Chaguanas (July), upon hearing the disturbing news of Cummings’ most recent predicament.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder was shot in his leg on Sunday, and will now miss out on his nation’s Copa America qualifier against Haiti (January 8) after yesterday’s surgery ruled him out for 10 months.

Mollon, who had to flee her car after she was inadvertently caught in the midst of a shootout among gangs earlier this year, expressed great disappointment at what transpired on Sunday morning. Although she escaped unscathed, Cummings was blatantly targeted in contrast.

“When I heard the news about Keron, my situation (in July) immediately ran across my mind,” she said. “It’s sad to know someone would be so vindictive. As a national player, you are an ambassador for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, because it is us who help fly the flag high and bring recognition to this nation.

And to see someone who is now breaking into the national team and doing so well, and in the running for so many accolades such as ‘Best Goal’, ‘Best Breakthrough Player’, it is disheartening to know someone would go to such lengths to set back a national representative.

“From one national athlete to the next, I want to wish him a speedy recovery, and to tell him to keep the faith.” Mollon was forced to crawl from her vehicle to her mother’s doorstep in escape of a hail of gunfire at the front of her home as she returned home from training. And while she may not have been their intended target, Cummings’ incident seems unfathomable to her.

“Football earns this man’s income, not to upkeep himself, but his family as well. It also opened doors for him to go abroad and play, and I can’t even begin to imagine how he is feeling. People will try to stop what God has in store for you. But man’s plan is nothing compared to God’s plan. But this is not the end for Keron. This, as hard as it may be, is a stepping stone for him I’m sure,” she added.

The Woman Soca Warrior also called on communities to rekindle activity within their respective community centres, and provide sporting activities for youths in an effort to veer them away from negative elements in society.

She reminisced on her younger years of coming home from school and heading to the community centre.

“Growing up, sport was always a good way for the youth to channel their energy into something positive,” Mollon continued.

“For me as a youth growing up, I used to put a lot of focus in the community centres because they were known to generate sporting avenues, and having the youth active.

I think we need to start taking back the communities where the youth can have something and events to look forward to, instead of sitting on the block, and being idle.” She also called on veteran athletes and sporting representatives to return to their communities and work with youngsters to further their sporting chances.

“We need to start having the sporting people who (have) been through the system coming back into the communities and giving back. I think we need to start providing more opportunities through sport and show the positives in it. Sport is starting to take the backburner in the community, and I think these community centres should step up and save their youth. We need to get sport back to the forefront,” she noted.

Mollon also revealed that she was again reminded of this nation’s challenge with crime after one of her former students was killed in Enterprise.

“I was again recently hurt by a similar situation where a young 16-year-old died through similar circumstances from my area. I taught him when I worked at the primary school, and for me, it was hard to swallow. Crime is affecting all of us, and it is now affecting our sporting representatives directly. The things of this world are temporary. There is going to come (a time) when these gunmen are going to be no more, so for me, it’s simple, put down the guns. It’s either going to land you in jail, or six feet under. There is no positive end result because you are destroying other people’s livelihoods and happiness.

There are taking away peoples’ brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews,” she concluded.