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Sep 7, 2015

Jaguars Prepare to Face Canada Tuesday

The Belize Jaguars lost a heartbreaker to Canada on Friday – three to zero. But the story was not the score as much as it was the lacklustre showing for a team which carried the hopes of a nation on its shoulders. In a little over ninety minutes of play, Belize had no shots on Canada’s goal. The team now prepares to host Canada on Tuesday in a do or die match here at the F.F.B. Stadium in Belmopan. Today, Mike Rudon was at Price Barracks where the team held its last full practice before that match. Here’s that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Jaguars ran through offensive and defensive drills this morning in preparation for their match against Canada, scheduled for Tuesday night. It’s a matter of regaining face after Canada turned what was dubbed a tough match-up into child’s play. It was a disappointing showing for fans and supporters, and certainly for those who have more invested in the team.

 

Marlon Kuylen

Marlon Kuylen, Executive Member, F.F.B.

“To see what all had gone into getting the team prepared to be at this level, it was very disappointing for us. I cannot pinpoint what went wrong; I guess you would have to talk to the coaching staff and the players about that, but it has been disappointing for us.”

 

Charlie Slusher, Assistant Coach, Jaguars

“I think we didn’t execute our game plan; that’s the short answer to all…the way we played. After watching all the tapes with the Canadian team, we knew what they would have come with and exactly how they played is what we expected. And we practiced to counter that. But I think we started the game with the game plan, trying to press them three-quarter field and eventually, I think mentally, we lost focus and forgot what was our main intention in playing on the road. And I think, like I said, we just didn’t execute our game plan.”

 

Charlie Slusher

Slusher says that apart from that mental and mindset breakdown, a big part of the problem was also the conditioning…or lack of conditioning of the players.

 

Charlie Slusher

“After you look at the game and you see the way the players were unable to build up any attack or coming from the back, I think it definitely look….some of that could have been a factor when it comes to…especially when you look at two of the guys catching cramps which was strange for us. And every time that happened, it cost us a goal. If you notice, whenever Trapp came out of the game, we were down ten-man, the Canadian attacked on that same moment and the second goal was scored. The third goal, likewise, Jarrett Davis got a cramp and came off the field and we had ten-man again and the Canadian attacked us right through that same flank and scored the third goal. So two of the goals were basically scored with two guys coming of the field and we only had ten man. So it could have been a factor and we will definitely have to analyze it going into the next game as well as in the future.”

 

There is so much against the players as they face off against foes who ran circles around them…so how does the coaching staff inspire and motivate these players who desperately need a boost?

 

Charlie Slusher

“We are not miracle workers, you know. If we don’t have the players with the right mindset in the game…we are not on the field, we can only prepare them here off the field and hope that they can go on the field and execute it. But I believe that the guys are looking for redemption. I know that likewise, they are not happy with the performance and know they could have done much better and I think that’s what they are talking about right now. Again, it is not much that we can do as coaches. I think at this point in time, the team, the players, they are the ones that really need to start motivating themselves and to work and redeeming themselves and the country on a whole because I know a lot of people were disappointed with the results.”

 

Marlon Kuylen

“As they came off that plane, I spoke with some of them and they are disappointed, they are frustrated, but more importantly, they are upset—upset with the way they performed or the lack of performance, I should say. And they can’t wait to get back on the field tomorrow night so that they can redeem themselves because they know deep within that they can beat this team. And they are about to prove it tomorrow night. However, we will need the fans out there to give them that extra boost. So that is what we are asking; that the fans come out tomorrow night.”

 

The Jaguars will need to score at least three goals more than Canada to have any hope of advancing. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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