Beach Footballers Return with Modest Success
The National Beach Soccer Team of Belize returned to the country today following its participation in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship 2017 held in the Bahamas. Team Belize won four out of the six games they played and placed thirteenth out of the sixteen teams that participated in the tournament. Their biggest win was in the final game of the competition against the Turks and Caicos with a score nine to four. Even though the team does not advance, they rank fourteenth out of fifty-six countries? News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
For the past week, footballers from across the country have been in the Bahamas competing as Team Belize in the 2017 regional qualifying games. In its opening game against Jamaica, Belize came out on top with a two-nil score during penalty shots. And would later go on to win four of the six matches it competed in. The team returned today via American Airlines proud of their rank in the CONCACAF charts.
Renan Cowo, Coach/Technical Director, Belize Beach Soccer Team
“Every week my players understand beach soccer, every week my players adapt in the sand because like you know, we don’t have beach soccer in Belize and all my players play only in grass, on the ground. But to adapt to the sand, it’s very important. It’s very different to play in the sand and to play in the grass. It’s very different the laws, it’s very different for the systems; the system is only four players movement and the goalkeeper and everything is different. But my players understand everything and we expected to get very good results for Belize; for example, Belize is the fourth place in the offensive. The first place is Mexico, second place, Salvador, third place Bahamas and Belize get fourth place for best offensive.”
While Belize did not advance, it is ranked fourth in the tournament because it had the most goals scored. Twelve of those goals were made by the Matador himself, Marlon Mesa, who has been playing football since he was a teenager. This is the first year, however, that he played beach soccer.
Marlon Mesa, Scored Most Goals Overall, CONCACAF Beach Soccer
“I do my best and I just gone out there and I play like usual and I scored a lot of goals. I scored twelve goals; I get the goleador from the tournament out of the sixteen teams and to me that was a great tournament for me. I think we mi got wah great tournament. We just had about a workout for about six weeks and I don’t think it was good for us, but when we gone yonder and the first game we play against Jamaica, we show that we could do it, and we beat them. After that, the team just stayed focus and we play a good tournament.”
An impressive goal, a chilena – also known as a bicycle kick – was made by Raymond Ramos of Team Belize in the matchup against Jamaica. Ramos has been playing football for over a decade and he himself was excited when he made the goal.
Raymond Ramos, Midfielder, Belize Beach Soccer Team
“That goal there…what…because I try that every day ina workout so when I get the chance, I just flick it and just shoot and ih just gone in. from me can’t believe that the ball gone in; that’s why I just start celebrate. In the tournament it is rough because it is difficult when you playing on the sand. Difficult because when you are on the grass, you move the ball better, but when you are on the sand, yo can’t run the ball good. yo have to try flick it pass and that thing deh.”
Jeremy James, Captain, Belize Beach Soccer Team
“The expectation as to make it to the finals, but we fall short. But the team played a good tournament and we are proud of ourselves and I think the country is proud of us.”
“How does this differ from the regular football on grass?”
“Mien it is very hard because in the sand, the ball cannot bounce. So it is different mien; difficult to play in the sand.”
There is need for more investments into local beach football in the league and Coach Renan Cowo says that it’s in the pipeline.
“Right now I have a project to present to F.F.B. is that we want to do a national league for beach [football] for eight teams. To play each two weeks: four games in Caye Caulker, next two weeks four games in Hopkins and next two weeks, four games in Placencia, but we need a national league cause we need more players because in three or four years, we need to put new players in the next national team.”
Duane Moody for News Five.