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Mar 23, 2018

Jaguars 4, Grenada 2

The national football team played its first international game on Thursday night. Though just a friendly match, the team showed its mettle when it took on Grenada’s Spice Boyz. It all leads to the CONCACAF Nation’s League set to commence in September. Once the ball got rolling at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, the Belize Jaguars dominated and the Spice Boyz are going back with a loss of four to two. Here’s Duane Moody with that report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

An international friendly match between the national football teams from Belize and Grenada went down on Thursday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. After ninety minutes of field play, the Jaguars mauled Spice Boyz in a four-two result. It was an interesting first game for both teams who had recently restructured its composition to include veteran and professional ballers with younger talent.

 

Shalrie Joseph

Shalrie Joseph, Coach, Team Grenada

“I like where in terms of where Belize is heading with the federation. They are infusing their team with youth and that’s the same thing I have done with my team. We have called some overseas players and added some young talent to what I think is a core group that has been together for a while. But I think both of us right now in terms of federation and in terms of country, we are looking ahead for what’s in September and this is a great preparation game to see where we are as a team to see where we are as an island.”

 

Marlon Kuylen, Sr. Vice President, F.F.B.

“The older guys, we are not trying to retire you. We are infusing a lot of younger players now into the team, but it is still their positions to lose. In other words, once they are performing well and up to standard, then it is up to the younger guys now to go and take over that position from them.”

 

The match was intense as Belize closed off the first half of the game with a three-one lead over Grenada; Michael Salazar, Jarret Davis and Elroy Smith gave us those goals. Then in the early minutes of the second half, Grenada scores its second goal. But it was at the sixty-second minute of play that Smith would score yet a second goal, the fourth for Team Jaguars to secure the big win.

 

Marlon Kuylen

“We are very, very pleased with the outcome and how the team played. Clearly we still have some improvements to make in certain areas, but the young players definitely came out and did a wonderful job when they had their opportunity.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did you have any idea that we would walk over Grenada in a sense, four-two?”

 

Marlon Kuylen

Marlon Kuylen

“Well twice that I know of that we’ve played them before, the outcomes were the same; we won by good margins. But from year to year things change and whilst we always go confidently into a match, we did not think that it would be—I shouldn’t say that easy, but we controlled most of the game.”

 

The international friendly match is part of a calendar of activities by the Football Federation of Belize in anticipation of the CONCACAF Nation’s League, which will improve Belize’s FIFA ranking, but also serves as a qualifier for the 2019 Gold Cup. The regional competition starts later this year in September. But for both teams, it is an opportunity to further development their respective teams.

 

Jason Belfort

Jason Belfort, Captain, Grenanda Spice Boyz

“It was very wonderful but we had a couple incidents where probably defense didn’t hold up as well as possible. But it is just a learning process and I think that we could go back to the drawing board and come back again. It’s our first came and I think the boys did not put out their hundred and I think that we need to work as a team and work as a unit. And I don’t want to blame anybody because I think we still give our best and I think them guys can do much better than how we did last night.”

 

Marlon Kuylen

“It gives us a lot of confidence especially with the young players stepping up to the plate. We have to remember too that we still have…last night we played with two international players, but we still have five more out there too so whenever the time comes, then we will start bringing them in. but we are very happy with the way things are going, especially with the new federation per say and the plans we have; it is not business as usual.”

 

According to F.F.B.’s Senior Vice President, Marlon Kuylen, while the federation is working on another international friendly match, the national beach team has been practicing for over a month now in Hopkins in preparation for the Central American Tournament in Salvador against the host country, Panama and Costa Rica. Duane Moody for News Five.

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