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Jul 11, 2013

Jaguars touchdown in Sand City, Salt Lake, Utah

The Jaguars continue to press forward despite the setbacks. The team is in Sandy City, Salt Lake County, Utah preparing for Saturday’s game against Costa Rica. Our team is with the Jaguars and William Neal reports from Utah.

 

William Neal Reporting

Founded by Brigham Young and several other Mormon followers in 1847, Salt Lake City, Utah is still home to the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the missionaries identified by its often wearing neckties as they endeavor to spread their faith in Belize. Salt Lake is on average more than four thousand feet above sea level and gets its name because it is surrounded by the Great Salt Lake on one side and steep mountain ranges on the others. Its climate is characterized as sub-humid or a dry, summer continental climate—meaning it experiences wet winters and hot, dry summers.  Summers with the majority of days above ninety degrees Fahrenheit and a few like the day the Belize national football team rolled into town with the thermometer registering more than one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, but with little or no humidity. This hot, dry city will be home for the team as they get ready to do battle against Costa Rica in game two of the gold Cup 2013. Preparations began soon after with the team having a late business dinner to review the game against the U.S. and an early breakfast to look at the Costa Rica-Cuba game. By mid-morning, they were off to the first of two training sessions for the day at a nearby high school football pitch. But how does the head coach use a blowout as a lesson and move on even when his decisions are being heavily scrutinized on social media regarding the choice to utilize Shane over Woodrow?

 

Ian Mork

Ian Mork, Head Coach, Belize Jaguars

“When you are going into a game like this against the U.S., as the coaching staff, we felt that Shane’s experience going into that game was something that we definitely wanted to be a factor for us. As you can see a lot of the players; they didn’t look so confident in the game because the game was so big. I don’t think that would have happened with West, but ultimately we just made a decision that we thought it would have helped the team have more confidence with Shane there as well. I understand Facebook is becoming quite the popular coaching network, but ultimately we have to go with what we see as the best fit at the time and we thought it was Shane.”

 

William Neal

“Now, moving into the game with Costa Rica, how do things change?”

 

Ian Mork

“[Umm] Speaking on the keeper situation, West is gonna be starting. So we decided that it would be the right thing to rotate them and give West a game. So he is going to be starting the game and then ultimately, we have to regroup and get back to the basics that we were taking care of so well before the U.S. game. If you look at the game against the U.S., we were organized, but we just were not aggressive enough…we were giving them too much respect. So against Costa Rica, we have to have more confidence. We have to have the confidence on the ball to keep the ball more and defensively we have to make sure that everyone has a good understanding of their role. We had a good training today and I think that the group is gonna be on track. And again they are going to have to step on the field and make it happen on Saturday.”

 

But can the team make it happen when key players are facing injuries and even personal crisis off the field?”

 

Dalton Eiley

Dalton Eiley, Co-Captain, Belize National Football Team

“Right now I am feeling good. I did the test earlier and when my heart-rate went up, I felt a little pain in the chest. But Doc said it wasn’t from the heart, but it’s my breathing. My breathing temp went up and when I calm my breathing down, the pain went away.”

 

William Neal

“So you feel good going into the game?”

 

Dalton Eiley

“I hope I get to play. We are going to take a test at the hospital, get an x-ray and everything and see what is really wrong with me. Hope it is nothing serious and I’ll be able to play.”

 

Deon McCauley

Deon McCauley, Striker, Belize Jaguars

“Well I’m not feeling too very confident right now. I tried running this morning and I was feeling a little shock in my left leg which really bothers me because going into this game Saturday, I need to be out there training with the guys, interacting and learning the tactics. But today was a bad day for me and I had to sit out. I think that after this, they are going to take me to do some x-rays on both of my legs so that we really know what is really wrong.”

 

But before the next two games, there is some unfinished business that the international media was hoping to address as they had finally gotten word of the game-fixing offers to the Belizean players and at today’s first practice, they were out in full force. But a gag-order has been issued with support from CONCACAF officials. And the players handled the media well especially Ian Gaynair, who scored Belize’s sole goal so far.

 

Ian Gaynair, Midfielder

“CONCACAF has everything. Don’t want to get into any detail about it.”

 

Ian Gaynair

Gaynair has also been personally basking in the limelight with global interviews that included a phoner with Mike Graham from Talks Sports, the biggest national commercial sports radio station in the U.K.

 

Ian Gaynair

“I neva know one goal could like change your whole life, you know. Everything just start come ina muy favor now. Like lotta things weh I mi dream about just di come to me one-one. And I feel so good fi get wah call all the way from England. I sure lotta people mi di listen to that and I am sure that one person outta everybody, somebody wah call me with some good news.”

 

But back to the immediate challenges… Coach Mork says that things are still up in the air, but he is optimistic.

 

Ian Mork

“We can only hope and stress to the players still that they need to maintain their concentration for the entire match and they need to have confidence in themselves and in each other. And looking at the films, it really helps because then they can see what we are talking about and hopefully they can transmit that on to the field for Saturday. So I think it is very beneficial. We’ve broken down the Costa Rica-Cuba match in great detail and we are just getting started on that analysis with the team. So the next few days, we are going to be going over it more and then tonight we’ll actually take it on to the field and show them on the field as well. So you know, ideally that is going to work for us and we have to get three points against Costa Rica. So that’s where we are at right now.”

 

With all the challenges, success will only come if the team can rise above and improve their focus, confidence and performance in the days ahead as they prepare for Costa Rica. William Neal from Salt Lake City, Utah for Channel Five’s coverage of Gold Cup 2013 made possible through Delta Airlines. Keep on climbing with Delta and Team Belize.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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