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Jun 1, 2018

Jaguars to Barbados for Friendly Match

The Belize Jaguars left for Barbados today for a friendly match with that island’s national team. The Jaguars are hoping that the friendly matches with Caribbean teams will help them evaluate their play in their bid to advance to the CONCACF’s Gold Cup in 2019. The game takes place this weekend and will be followed by a return match in August. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Belize has signed on to the Nation’s League, which is a qualifier for the 2019 Gold Cup. That tournament will see team Belize compete against several other Caribbean teams in a bid for one of two spots and advance to the fifteenth edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But while the tournament is set to run from September through to March, the Football Federation of Belize is preparing the National male ‘A’ Team for the challenge. Earlier this year, in March, the Belize Jaguars had a home and away friendly match with the national team from Grenada; today, the team left the country en route to Barbados for a second round of an international friendly match with the national team from that island country.

 

Marlon Kuylen

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

“Because we are preparing for the nation’s league, we have to play some friendlies so we could gauge where the team is and what pieces we need to put in place. So we arranged with Barbados Football Federation to have two friendlies—one there and one at home.”

 

Luis Pena

Luis Pena, Assistant Secretary General, F.F.B.

“The federation sent out a number of letters to eleven associations, football associations, and this is one of the response that we’ve gotten from the eleven that we sent. We are playing Barbados on Sunday in Barbados and then the return match will be on the fourth of August here in Belize.”

 

Team Belize is made up of an interesting blend of veteran and young football athletes; it is a strategy that is welcomed by all players. With its speed, around the clock practice sessions and ranking in the world of football, the Belize Jaguars is confident that they can win this round of friendly matches.

 

Ian Gaynair

Ian Gaynair, Midfielder, Belize Jaguars

“I feel really confident because I think we all prepared very well. We trained about two weeks and we had two practice matches so I feel like…and we even saw them play—we watched a couple videos with them—so I very confident that we can go out there and win the away game.”

 

Duane Moody

“We’ve noticed that in ranking, you guys are actually better than Barbados, do you think this gives you this added confidence going into the game?”

 

Ian Gaynair

“To be honest, I take each opponent with the same. I never underestimate an opponent; they rank very low but my mindset and the way I go into a game is that I play the game first then I talk about the team afterwards.”

 

Duane Moody

“So yo think we wah win?”

 

Ian Gaynair

“We wah win the game. we wah win away and we wah win home; confident.”

 

Elroy Kuylen, Midfielder, Belize Jaguars

“We have to start rebuilding from now cause we have a lot of players like Ian Gaynair, Elroy Smith, Dalton Eiley, myself and a couple other players that I can mention that we have to replace them.”

 

Elroy Kuylen

Duane Moody

“How is that chemistry going with this new blood that is being introduced to the national A Team?”

 

Elroy Kuylen

“We have a lot of players that can play more than one position and they listen to us the senior players and willing to learn and take the advice that we give them.”

 

Meanwhile, twenty-four-year-old Najib Guerra and San Leobardo Mendez recently got drafted from Verdes FC to join the Belize Jaguars. While it is not the first time they are playing with the national selection, they spoke about what they are bringing to the team.

 

Najib Guerra

Najib Guerra, Left Midfield, Belize Jaguars

“I’m gonna support my team with my speed, my skills and I the preparation that our coach has given us, it’s a good preparation for this game.”

 

San Leobardo Mendez

San Leobardo Mendez, Center Midfield, Belize Jaguars

“I have been playing since 2010, but I have been with the national team before. They called me and I went and they tried me out and they said that I am doing good. I have a lot to give to my national team.”

 

There is a new captain for the team. Professional goalkeeper Woodrow West has taken on the mantle and will guide the team, a victory. West says he was vacationing with family, but responded without hesitation to the call for the international friendly.

 

Woodrow West

Woodrow West, Captain, Belize Jaguars

“I’m so proud and thanks to the coach and my teammates that accepted that I be the captain. It is a difficult task aside from being the goalkeeper; I have a little more work to do.  But like I said, the group is humble and it is much easier to work with these guys cause they want to play. The team looks great. We did two weeks of good training and we have a good plan to see what we can do in Barbados. We have seen how they played and we structured our team to have a great match against them.”

 

Aside from Captain West, several other international players will be joining the team in Barbados, including star striker Deon McCauley.

 

Marlon Kuylen

“Deon McCauley is joining the team as well as Michael Atkinson; he plays with the Royal Air Force in England; we have Nana Mensa and of course Woodrow West. What we are doing also is we are rotating the international players. If you notice, you don’t see Michael Salazar on this so we are rotating them so the coaches have a good view of their playing style and if they fit in the puzzle.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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