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Mar 24, 2015

Cayman Footballers Arrive for World Cup Qualifier

This Wednesday, starting at eight p.m. sharp, the Belize Jaguars will be playing against the national football team from the Cayman Islands in the first leg of qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup. Today, the Cayman delegation arrived in Belize on Taca Airlines, but interestingly, there were no officials from the Football Federation of Belize to welcome the athletes, their coaching staff and other members of the team to the country. Only two police mobiles and about three police officers were at the airport to escort the group to Belmopan where the FIFA-sanctioned match will take place.  Duane Moody was there and has this story.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The media gathered this morning outside the arrival lounge of the Phillip Goldson International Airport as the national football team from Cayman touched down in the Jewel today. The delegation, which comprises of nineteen players and ten support staff, including medics and coaches, would arrive just before ten a.m. on a commercial Taca shuttle. But their exit would be deterred as there were several issues facing the group.

 

Kennedy Kelly

Kennedy Kelly, Head of Delegation, Cayman National Team

“We had some problems getting our baggage. It took us over an hour to get our baggage, but we didn’t have any problems that we experienced coming in. we didn’t experience any problems coming in….everything was smooth sailing.  We brought nineteen players. We are hoping to get a good result here in Belize. We know it is going to be difficult, but we are prepared and we are hoping to come out with at least a point, hopeful.”

 

After an hour and a half, they were finally given the green light. The athletes exited and were escorted to a waiting bus which took them to Belmopan, the battleground for the first of a home and away series with Belize’s National ‘A’ Selection.  The match will be played on Wednesday at the FIFA-certified F.F.B. Football Field.

 

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Coordinator, Belize National Team [File: March 20th, 2015]

“Our team has been practicing from since November and more earnestly since January. We are confident that we have assembled the best team possible, of what is available to us.”

 

Ruperto Vicente

Ruperto Vicente, President, F.F.B. [File: March 20th, 2015]

“This is the team that is going to represent Belize. This is not about representing the F.F.B. I have always said that Belize has never gone to war with a gun, but we are preparing these young me to go to war for Belize and they will defend our national flag and defend the name Belize.”

 

The Cayman team, although ranked at two hundred and four on the FIFA chart, is not to be underestimated and according to Director of the Cayman National Teams, Renard Moxam, its strategy is to win.

 

Renard Moxam, Director, Cayman National Teams

“We’ve been in training camp for about seven to eight weeks and we’ve had a couple of games in Jamaica in preparation for the Belize games. We’ve also had a few, one or two friendly games at home. And we are pleased, the technical staff is pleased with the progress of the group we have. It is a very young group, but talent—a group that is determined and also proud to represent the Cayman Islands.  We have done some research on the Belize group and we have watched some videos of them and their performance in the Gold Cup. So yes, we have some knowledge of them, we don’t have a big library of Belize and the football history, but we’ve been down here before, we looked at the facilities; we’ve looked at the environment that we are going to be playing in and we try to adjust and plan accordingly. We are looking forward to the games. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the Belize football international team so we are just going to take it one step at a time and see where it goes from there.”

 

But what is the strength of the Cayman team?

 

Renard Moxam

Renard Moxam

“We have not overly concerned ourselves with Belize per say; we’ve tried to focus our time and effort on to how we are going to play and how we prepared ourselves.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir, what do you believe is the strength of the Cayman team and how that will play in your favor against the Belize team?”

 

Renard Moxam

“Our strength is that we have a lot of competence and discipline in our group. We are a very young, but passionate footballing country. We understand all the negative and the positives of the game and the coaching staff that we have are also good football people…we have a lot of character in our team and on the assets that we have; we try to build the unit and let them play accordingly.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

The Belize Jaguars will travel to Cayman for the away match which will be held on Sunday. The team that advances will play against Dominica later this year. 

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