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Mar 30, 2015

Belize Advances to Second Round of 2018 World Cup Qualifier

The hopes and dreams of our nation rested on the shoulder of the Belize Jaguars as they headed to Cayman over the weekend to play compete against that nation’s ‘A’ squad. For the Belize Jaguars, following a draw at home last week – everything was on the line for our boys who needed an outstanding performance to advance to round two in the World Cup qualifiers. So did they make us proud? Isani Cayetano was in Cayman this weekend and has this comprehensive report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Game two, a decisive match to determine who advances to another round of competition between Belize and the Cayman Islands, followed an unremitting shower which began shortly after midday.  While the team was poised to close out its adversary, given its studious preparation the day before, nature wouldn’t be as kind.  The constant sheet of rain blanketed everything for several hours, covering the island, including the Truman-Bodden Sporting Complex, in a white mist until sometime after five o’clock.  The entire time the Jaguars organized an offensive to guarantee a W going forward.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Begin by explaining to us what took place within the first four minutes of game play where the goal was scored against you.”

 

Woodrow West

Woodrow West, Goalkeeper, Belize Jaguars

“I think the team came out too aggressive and it cost us that goal. Yes it was a mistake by Danny Jimenez, but we came out with a game plan and we didn’t execute on the first ten minutes of the game and it cost us an error on the backline noh.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Speaking of which, you guys started off a bit sluggish in terms of getting some momentum going in the first half of the game. What happened?”

 

Woodrow West

“Well like I said, you know, maybe the team was not focusing on the defensive side and knowing that this team could attack us as well. They caught us off guard and we couldn’t recover on the play and it cost us a goal.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“We had several possessions in which we could have capitalized and scored on the Cayman national team. From your vantage point in terms of seeing what was taking place on the opposite side of the field, what would you think could have been done different to sort of seal a victory in breaking the one-one draw?”

 

Woodrow West

“Well just the goal. It’s a problem we are having from the previous game; we have been missing so many goals. We could have done this game from last week in Belize…we could have finished this game a long time ago. We came out today and we still faltered the goals. We got the opportunity to forward the defense; they did their job to keep the ball up front. We just couldn’t get the ball in the net in the second half. I think we just got to work on the finishing part now and try to get on our feet because after this the game is just going to get harder from now on.”

 

As fate would have it, despite painstaking groundwork, the Jaguars would be off to a lethargic start.  In the fourth minute of play the team would be dealt a rude awakening, an arousal which definitely boosted the confidence of the home team.

 

Mark Ebanks

Mark Ebanks, Midfield, Cayman National Team

“We did a lot of training for this. Belize is no push over team; they like to run. We gave it our all and unfortunately we didn’t move on.”

 

Reporter

“One goal away from qualifying for the goal cup how does that feel?”

 

Mark Ebanks

“Well you know, when I scored the goal I thought we were going to seal it and just play the rest of the game, securing that goal. But like I was telling Kevin, they scored the goal and they took it away from us and that was like a heartbreaker right there.”

 

The rest would include a concerted effort to match and outdo the opponent on its home turf, before an audience of primarily Caymanians, peppered with a handful of Belizeans who cheered heart and soul for the Red, White and Blue.

 

Elroy Kuylen

Elroy Kuylen, Scored Goal for Belize

“During the training session after the first game, I was practicing a lot of my free kicks. I got one and I took the opportunity to get it behind the net and we know the away goal counts big for us and we had to come out steaming cause we wanted a win and we had a lot of opportunities in Belize and we didn’t score no goal.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“You guys were off to a slow start tonight in terms of gaining some momentum to begin attacking the opponent. What happened there?”

 

Elroy Kuylen

“I think we started flat and Cayman came out with a high tempo and they know they had to bring it to the game. We were playing for that away goal and to get the first goal…first goal brings another goal. So that was the game plan to bring a first goal and we had to open up to commit.”

 

Charlie Slusher, Assistant Coach, Belize Jaguars

“Well I think after examining the field, we kind of realized that this game would have been much tougher than we anticipated. We know that going on the road, it is always tough, but when we saw the side of the field and we know that the Cayman team was able to defend on a big field very well, it means that defending on a smaller field would even be much better for them. The respect that they had for us and when we saw that they went in a defensive mode similar as what happened in Belize, we knew that it would have been a long day because when you are defending on a small field, it is difficult to create offensive opportunities because then they take away the space from you. So we knew that it would have been tougher than we anticipated.”

 

What is certain about the Belize Jaguars despite the narrow victory is the sense of camaraderie amongst the players.  While they admit that the road ahead will not be easy, the team’s sense of togetherness, on display at the airport this afternoon, speaks volumes of its potential both on and off the field. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Belize Advances to Second Round of 2018 World Cup Qualifier”

  1. Evelin Mena says:

    It was a good match…Jaguars played amazing, I had a great time at the stadium supporting my team!!

  2. CEO says:

    Good work!

    After this it is an uphill climb on a steep hill.

  3. Keep it real says:

    where you at big mouth Ruperto? Belize lucky they played against an innocent team ,a little worst than them. This team has the same old players ,and no progress. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Invest into a strong youth development program. Fifa give enough money for that. Stop making this rediculous prediction ,and learn how to address the media Ruperto. Belize took a “Sling Shot” instead of the gun you mention. Luckily in these prelimanary rounds the teams are just as bad as the Belize team. I feel Belize can do better with an experience person running football. The talent is there ,but needs to be develop at a young age ,like the pros due. It will take time ,but it can be done.

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