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May 29, 2001

National football coach loses job

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After Belize put out its best at the UNCAF Nation’s Cup in Honduras and almost defeated the Guatemalan football team, Coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis finds himself without a job. Lewis says he was told by a member of the executive that he was fired and should keep it quiet until this morning when that body would meet. The B.N.F.A.’s president Bertie Chimilio says otherwise.

Bertie Chimilio, President, B.N.F.A.

“Lewis was not fired. I called a meeting as I usually do, after all National Teams play, and we have a discussion as to what is happening, what happened, how it happened, and the corrective measures that need to be taken. He came in here, says he doesn’t want to hear that, he knows that I’m going to fire him, so he’s resigning. So I told him, “Mr. Lewis, I don’t think that’s the attitude to take.” He said one of my executive members tell him that I’m firing him, so he wants his money and he wants to go home. So I told him, “if that’s going to be your attitude sir, then I will take your resignation verbally, and I want you to write me and just give it to me officially.” I think Coach Lewis recognises what’s going to happen to him you know, and so he pre-empted by resigning.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“What was going to happen to him and why?”

Bertie Chimilio

Coach Lewis made some very derogatory comments in Honduras about the B.N.F.A., that could have been squashed, I have no problem with that; he was probably frustrated. He made some derogatory comments about UNCAF and CONCACAF, and when you do that about the organisation, it’s in the bylaws and the rules and regulations definitely sanctions will be put in place. So Coach Lewis decided, I think, that he will run before the sanctions come down. I was informed by telephone this morning from New York that pretty soon we will be getting the sanctions. He knows that he will not be able to work in Central America and maybe the entire world for the next two or three years. So I think he wants to save, seeing that he is a media man, he went to the media for everything; he promoted the National Team, which is very good. Now he’s giving what we call in Spanish “pataleo de ahogado” those are the people who are drowning, they give the last kick.”

Sherrier Lewis in an interview on Radio Krem this afternoon said Chimilio never liked him and neither did he want football to develop in Belize. The former coach and technical director, a native of Costa Rica, accused B.N.F.A. officials of being more concerned with the perks of membership in FIFA than in the welfare of Belize’s football players.

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