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Mar 19, 2019

Belize vs. Guyana; a clash of the Jaguars to qualify for the CONCACAF’s Gold Cup

This Saturday night it will be the clash of the Jaguars as Belize Jaguars and the Guyana Golden Jaguars go head to head to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Belize aspires to make it to the Gold Cup again and relive the historic glory of 2013. Guyana has never been and wants to give their country that glory on their home turf. Both countries are seeking a win on Saturday and so the football officials say that the match promises to be a tough one for both teams. Today team Belize departed the country and will arrive in Guyana on Wednesday after a layover in Panama. They met with the press and some young fans in Belize City before their flight. Reporter Andrea Polanco was there and tells us more about the team’s readiness.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Belize Jaguars are hoping qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup for a second time – but first they have to defeat Guyana’s national football team. On Saturday night it will be showdown of the Jaguars – as our team the Belize Jaguars takes on the Golden Jaguars of Guyana. Before they left Belize today, the team held a meet and greet with students in Belize City where they took pictures and received well wishes from young fans.  Assistant Coach Dale Pelayo Senior says the team brings experience and talent – with a mix of veteran footballers and young players who started training since last year. He says that they ready to repeat history.


Dale Pelayo Sr, Assistant Coach, Belize Jaguars

Dale Pelayo Sr.

“This group of players has been together from the first Gold Cup. The other players have been there and then we have added our young talented players to join the senior guys. And so we have been in training, preparing from the first game and the training continues. We are ready. We are confident that we will go in to Guyana and make history once again for Belize.”


Among the nineteen players are familiar faces like Shane Orio, Dion McCaulay; Elroy Kuylen and Ian Gaynair – along with several up and coming players, as well as international players. Coach Pelayo says this bunch represents Belize best in football. Guyana’s Golden Jaguars team has never been to the Gold Cup and so they are looking for a win to make history for their country. Belize Jaguars say they are ready for what their opponents will bring.


Elroy Smith

Elroy Smith, Defender, Belize Jaguars

“They are at home, so it is obvious they are going to come out attacking so we got to be prepared mentally for the first at least twenty minutes of the game because it is going to be intense. If anything, they are going to come with three forward at us so we have to be prepared for that.”


Andrea Polanco

“Do you think they younger members of the team are ready for it?”


Elroy Smith

“Yes. I think they are. They are showing it with their clubs, so I think that they are prepared for it. I don’t think these young players are rookies. They have been playing in the league for years, so I think they are old enough to stand whatever they bring.”


Nana-yaw Mensah, Mid-fielder, Belize Jaguars

Nana-yaw Mensah

“I see our strengths as – in the midfield we are very strong. We have some quality strikers and our defensive line is very experienced so I think that with experience we have what it takes.”


Pelayo says they have sized up the Guyana’s Golden Jaguars – and he also believes that the game will not be easy but the Belize Jaguars team has everything it takes to win.


Dale Pelayo Sr.

“They are physical. They are fast. Within the Caribbean countries, you know that they are physical and they are just like us but I believe we are more technical than them and that is what we have been working on in holding position of the ball and in holding position of the ball that will give us opportunity to have more looks at goals and more looks at goals one will count. It is an uphill battle; it is a challenge but we want the Belizean people to know that we are confident with the twelve players being the fans back home, we know we have what it takes as eleven players and the fans cheering for us on social media; watching the game; being there physically watching the game. We know the support is back home and we will do it.”


And while each player brings his own strengths, the players say the training has given them confidence and to win they must play as one team.


Harrison Roches, Forward, Belize Jaguars

Harrison Roches

“We mature enough to know that football is a team and we are well prepared because the coach took time out and prepared us well for out there. So, whatever they come with we ready and we ready to show them who we too because we believe inna fi we self. We just ready. We can’t wait until the game start. We more than ready.”



“You are one of the more experienced players on this team, what have you shared with the younger players going into this match?”


Harrison Roches

“I tell them to be confident inna deh self and mek we play as one team. Defend together, attack together, play together – just play as a team.”


Woodrow West

Woodrow West, Goalkeeper, Belize Jaguars

“I think I am in good condition. I got a lot of confidence. The game in general is going to be hard because we are playing on their turf so we have to hold out for the first twenty-twenty-five minutes of the game and whole out and see what they are all about and then stick to that plan.”


And for Belize to qualify again for the Gold Cup, all they need is a one-nil win. And as Pelayo explains this is a factor that will help to drive the team to victory on Saturday night.


Dale Pelayo Sr.

“For us in Belize, we need to go in to Guyana with a one-nil will give us the point that we need and we are going to repeat history once again.”


Andrea Polanco

“Going to the Gold Cup as second time – do you think that is a going to a factor in terms of motivating the guys to win the match on Saturday?”


Dale Pelayo Sr.

“It is a factor and let me say it is a factor because some of the older players this might be their last game in making history for Belize in preparing the younger players to give them that challenge to go the Gold Cup. So, it is the handing over of a banner that I believe the older players have seen where they can hand over something that they left a legacy that they were the first to have taken Belize to the Gold Cup and repeating history once again. Some of them might not be there with us but some of them have accomplished history and then handing it over to the younger players to lead from there.”


Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.


The game will be at six-thirty Guyana time – that is four-thirty Belize time on Saturday evening.

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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