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Feb 26, 2015

F.F.B. Introduces National Team

With an ambitious calendar before them, the Football Federation of Belize today introduced the national ‘A’ selection team which, by next month, will be playing its first home game against Cayman in the World Cup Qualifier. The team is a mix of experienced players as well as rookies put together after months of scouting.   The F.F.B. President, Ruperto Vicente, also today officially identified the coach for the national team whose been working with the team, but only signed off the deal last week.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A total of thirty athletes—midfielders, forwards, strikers, goalkeepers and more—from various football clubs across the country have been chosen to join the roster of the National ‘A’ Selection Team of Belizean football for the upcoming calendar year. The players and the coaching staff were introduced to the media today and while there were some familiar faces, younger footballers and new blood made the cut. The announcement was made at the F.F.B. Headquarters in Belmopan by members of the executive and the national team committee.

 

Ruperto Vicente

Ruperto Vicente, President, F.F.B.

“We are not just preparing this team for this world cup elimination. Our goal is long term and we have Gold Cup coming up again next year and so this team we are hoping, with all the support that’s going to be given by the Belizean public and the F.F.B., that we will keep this team together for a long period of time. Our coaches are going to be with us full time and just only for a period of time. They will be with us full time so that they can continue working with our A national team as well as our youth national teams.”

 

Meet the new head coach for the national team.

 

John Saldivar, National Team Coordinator

“Mister Nunez has coached various teams in Belize. I think the most notable amongst them was the Juventus Football Club. Most recently he has been the assistant coach of the Belmopan Bandits.”

 

Jorge Nunez

Jorge Nunez, Head Coach, National ‘A’ Selection Team

“I played football in Belize with Juventus. I played football in whole of Central America professionally. I played football in my country, Brazil, professionally. I coached in Guatemala. I have three titles of FIFA that you need to train all over the world.”

 

Since November, Coach Jorge Nunez, and his coaching staff have been cracking the whip on the players and they have been introducing a new strategy to the team. While the team will remain strong in its defense, it will strengthen its offensive play as well.

 

Charlie Slusher

Charlie Slusher, Assistant Coach, National ‘A’ Selection Team

“Today, about eighty percent of our national team is within the age of twenty and twenty-one, but don’t let the age fool you. Some of these U-twenty and some of these players that are here right now for example Tevin Gamboa was voted the best goalkeeper last season in the top league in Belize. You have Jordy Polanco who was voted the best midfielder from the Belmopan bandits. So although these guys are young, they are very well capable of handling the pressure whether it is local or international. So the theme is not just getting ready for the Cayman game, but we are also looking forward into the future of rebuilding the entire national team program.”

 

Training for the national team began from November and since then the players have been attending camps at the F.F.B. compound. The preparation is for the upcoming international FIFA World Cup qualifier on March twenty-fifth in which Belize will face off in home and away games against Cayman Islands. Star goalkeeper, Woodrow West, says he is preparing himself mentally and physically for the match.

 

Woodrow West

Woodrow West, Goalkeeper

“The first thing I am so happy about is that we’re playing home first and that is a good advantage for us. Since we know that, it gives a lot of courage for the players them and we are so into it right now. We’ve been training from since November—two days every week and since last month, it is for the entire week. So we are kinda ready for it.  I gained a lot of experience out there and it’s been a challenge for me as well here cause I have a weight on my shoulder to carry on. I always try to do my best and train hard so that I could maintain that composure and my goal as well.”

 

But for rookies to the national team, twenty-one year olds Tevin Gamboa and Kyle Flowers, they are getting an opportunity of a lifetime to improve on their talents and play with the best footballers in the country.

 

Kyle Flowers

Kyle Flowers, Left-back

“For me it’s been a great experience being around so many talented young players. One of my dreams is to go out and play for the big teams and here I am proving that I am capable of doing it.”

 

Tevin Gamboa

Tevin Gamboa, Goalkeeper

“I’ll just be around gaining experience as a young goalkeeper because they have goalkeepers like Shane Orio who is to come from Guatemala in the next two weeks and they are good people to work around. Just the experience. Here at the national team, you do certain work that you don’t do at your club and that improve me more and becoming a good goalkeeper; because of the work and the strategies that they bring to the field as a goalkeeper training and just improving skills.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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