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Aug 2, 2023

NSC and Ministry of Sports Host Dinner for U-17 Basketball Team

The celebration continues for Belize’s National Under-Seventeen Male Basketball Team. We have told you about the historic bronze medal win on Sunday night and the numerous high school and college offers that these young athletes are receiving. To further acknowledge their valiant effort and success in the Under-Seventeen Centrobasket Tournament, a dinner was held in the team’s honor at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Belize’s National Under-Seventeen Male Basketball Team remains in the spotlight following their historic bronze medal victory inside the Belize City Civic Center. On Tuesday night, the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council honored the team with a dinner.


Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Sports

Rodwell Ferguson

“Well their performance is excellent, as a matter of fact; we are the best team in Central America. WE defeated a country with a population of a hundred and thirty million and we can only choose from four hundred thousand, so I want to give my guys kudos and I told the president and the federation that we are going to back them as they enter the under-eighteen basketball competition next year in the Americas, so we are a hundred percent behind them.”


The Government of Belize received high praises at Tuesday night’s dinner after it was revealed that GOB invested more than forty thousand dollars in the 2023 U-Seventeen Centrobasket Tournament. Additionally, fees for the use of the Belize City Civic Center, as well as security, were waived. The National Sports Council assisted with transportation logistics.


Marvin Ottley

Marvin Ottley, Deputy Director, National Sports Council

“To put a project together like this is certainly not easy and the response from the general public and the fans that attended the game overall I think it was overwhelming. This was really good for sports for Belize. I think it is a pattern for where we are going in sports, especi9ally from us at the council and working with the federation. I think um at the youth level we have to invest more and see how far we go with it. Our contribution to this tournament phase for the basketball was more direct in the sense we provided full time transportation for the basketball team, around the clock.”


With the bronze medal victory on Sunday, Belize qualifies for the Under-Eighteen Tournament of the Americas. This event takes place every two years. The next one is slated for summer 2024. So what will it take to prepare team Belize for the upcoming competition? We asked a couple of the players.


Ian Parham, Bronze Medalist, U-17 Centrobasket Championship

Ian Parham

“Not only I think the physical part of it, training every day, staying on top of our craft, but also the mental side and the emotional side, being there for each other, being much closer than we already are, I think that will definitely help us next year playing against those bigger tougher teams.”


Elijah Favela

Elijah Favela, Bronze Medalist, U-17 Centrobasket Championship

“I would say we need to work on our chemistry more, because we have only been practicing for about like probably a week and half or two weeks. But as soon as we get that down more we will be more as a team more chemistry and I think we will be ready for the big tournament.”


Jacob Leslie, President, Belize Basketball Federation

Jacob Leslie

“What we need to do as a country is to find resources to keep this group together, to keep them trained, the proper nutrition, physical training. So there are some resources that we need to find to ensure that we get these guys prepared. Like I said, when I became the president of the basketball federation I didn’t just want to participate. We want to go out there and represent Belize well, we want to compete.”


Doubling down on his government’s support for the under-seventeen basketball team, Minister Ferguson says he is committed to doing what is necessary to allocate resources for the team. We also asked him about plans to invest in the further development of basketball across the country.


Paul Lopez

“How do we move forward piggy backing on these young men to further develop the sport of basketball in Belize, we have a need for basketball facilities across the country especially in the rural communities where a lot of these young talents if we are being honest do come from?”

Rodwell Ferguson

“First of all we must acknowledged and recognize we have a very small economy, maybe about two billion U.S and four hundred thousand people. So we have to figure out how we can share that money amongst the entire population. I have my own tasks and plans as the minister of sports. We are going to find a way forward. With our new director now we are going to make sure we improve on marketing and advertising, as well we can get the business community to come on board. I believe this will be a spring board for the entire country to come on board and say I am going to support basketball, football, and volleyball, whatever.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez


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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