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Jun 12, 2015

Belize Jaguars Return Victorious from the Dominican Republic

Less than twenty-four hours after the Belize National Football Team won the away game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on Thursday, the athletes and coaching staff touched down at the Phillip Goldson International Airport today. Beaming with confidence, the team arrived motivated and determined to defend its goal in Sunday’s matchup against the Dominican Republic. A win on Sunday would be historic, as Belize would be advancing for the first time to the third round of competition.  But, before we get ahead of ourselves, we joined the welcoming committee at the Phillip Goldson International Airport this afternoon where we found out from the Jaguars what the victory in Santo Domingo means for the team’s spirit.  Duane Moody has that story.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Following the arrival of separate flights in the Jewel earlier today, the Belize Jaguars exited the arrival section of the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The delegation was greeted by fans who stood patiently outside to welcome them after defeating the national team from the Dominican Republic on Thursday. Confident and excited, the players acknowledged that teamwork and months of training paid off.


Deon McCauley

Deon McCauley, Striker, Belize Jaguars

“It feels good to be home especially with that big win. It is hard to win in another team’s territory and we went out there as a team and we played out heart and soul. We played out system. There was a lot of things against us; the field wasn’t that good, the weather wasn’t that good either, but we stuck out and we kept focus for ninety minutes and we ended up getting that big goal at the end and win the game.”


Ian Gaynair, Forward, Belize Jaguars

“Yo see wah big smile on mi face right so that means I am happy. I got a lot of confidence; I got all the time off I needed from work. I had two months to train…they told me just to focus on football and that is what I did—day in day out trained hard and hard work pay off.”


Shane Orio

Shane Orio, Goalkeeper, Belize Jaguars

“It was a group effort. We knew that they were going to attack us a lot, but as a team, we held our composure. We need to congratulate the coaches because the game plan that was draft up, we went out and execute it well. We played forty-five minutes without receiving a shot at goal. So, on that behalf that was impressive because our communication was at its maximum expression.”


The first goal scored by Deon McCauley was as a result of a penalty kick issued after Right Wing Forward, Danny Jimenez, was tackled to the ground just minutes into the first half of the game. Jimenez says that he would sacrifice his body to make the country proud.


Danny Jimenez

Danny Jimenez, Right Wing Forward

“I noh think no football player weh go out there go play got that in mind that you are going to get hurt. We know that the game is a physical sport, but we don’t have that in mind that we will get hurt. If we think with that mind, yon oh play with that full heart for the sport. When I play for this country of Belize I give myself and I put myself; if I have to put my body in front of it to score or to defend wah ball, I wah do all of that because for the love of the sport and the country. My role, I play wah Right Wing Forward, but when we defend, we become wah defensive players. And when we di attack, we go into attack too. So we have to put in a lot of work.”


But was Belize supposed to have three goals?


Ian Gaynair

Deon McCauley

“I believe the referee call offside, but no way in the world that could have been offside because I played the line very good. Jordy Polanco string the ball through very good, so I don’t know if it was a hand ball or offside, I don’t really know. I would have to go back and see what happened there.”


At the eighty-eighth minute, McCauley would score the second and winning goal for the Belize Jaguars. The team has made Belize proud, especially former footballer and father of star striker Deon. David says his son was the missing piece in the Belize Jaguars.


David “Manu” McCauley

David “Manu” McCauley, Father of Deon McCauley

“He assured us that it all starts from one goal and I knew that if he got one goal, I’m definitely sure that more will be coming. So when the first goal score, I was so excited, but it was a penalty. I said to myself, Deon, you need to score your own goal meaning that you need to put one behind the net with your expertise and your talent. And when that happened, it was a great feeling to know that he fulfilled that desire that we had.”


For assistant coach, Charlie Slusher, despite the win, the team did not play at its best.


Charlie Slusher

Charlie Slusher, Assistant Coach, Belize Jaguars

“We went there with a game plan and we are more than happy that although we did not play the best of football that this team can play, we really achieved our goal which was to try and get at least one or two goals. And the guys, with all the pressure that was coming down on them, they hold their ground and we got the victory and that is our game plan. It wasn’t a pretty one, but playing on the road is always different than playing at home.  I think we lost focus and some of the guys when it comes to sticking to our formation, our strategy, we kinda lose focus and didn’t want to put in the extra work. But I am glad that eventually the guys started to live up to their roles and responsibility within the system that we are playing.”


The Dominican Republic scored only one goal on Belize. Duane Moody for News Five.

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