COVID-19: Kerala Santosh Trophy stars to donate a month's salary

KOCHI: Seven members of the winning team of the 2018 Santhosh Trophy in Kerala have decided to participate in the wage challenge initiated by the state government to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eleven of the 20 squad members had received jobs from the state government after their success in Calcutta two years ago. Of the eleven, seven joined the state government service in the past two months. And those seven have decided to show their gratitude by donating their one-month salary to the Prime Minister's relief fund during these difficult times.

Kerala won Santosh Trophy for the sixth time hitting the hosts west of bengal in 2018 and at that time these 11 players were unemployed or studying. Although the government's job promise took almost two years to fulfill, seven players, Mohammed Shareef YP, Jiyad Hassan KO, Sajith Poulose, Shamnas BL, Sreekuttan, Anurag PC and Afdal, joined the department of general and higher education. at the beginning of this year. The other four: Jithin MS, VP of Suhair, Jestin George and Rahul KP - are fulfilling I-league contracts with Gokulam Kerala FC and they took long vacations without pay after joining the service.

“Even though we won Santosh Trophy , our standard of living continued to be the same. Some of us were still living in houses which had no electricity. It is only after getting a government job that we started to get a feeling that our life is going to be secured. Now we have a responsibility towards this society and it’s time to give something back to our people,” said Jiyad Hassan, who played as a defender in that tournament.

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“We have expressed our willingness to participate in the wage challenge. There is an option to give our salary in four EMI. Nothing has been reported so far from the government side. It could take some time due to the blockade, ”said Anurag PC, 20, who has just completed his degree in sociology at Farook College, Kozhikode and is waiting for results.

Supporting the Kerala society during difficult times is nothing new for these players. When floods wrecked havoc in Kerala, the whole Santosh Trophy team and the support staff raised more than Rs 1 lakh and contributed to the relief fund. “It's from that experience of donation during the flood that we came up with such an idea. We have a Whatsapp group among us and in that group, we discussed about donating our one month’s salary. Everyone supported the initiative. Four among us have taken leave without salary due to I-League contracts. But they too have agreed to donate their one-month salary after re-joining the service,” said Mohammed Shareef .