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Jan 30, 2013

National Team soccer coach back with team

Costa Rican Coach Leroy Sherrier Lewis is back in the game after less than four days off the playing field and after leading the national football team to a historic win against Nicaragua in the Copa Centro American Games. That’s the latest word that the Football Federation of Belize’s President Ruperto Vicente, handed down via official press conference today. As to the reason behind Sherrier Lewis’ sudden departure? Well, the official version of that story has a rather interesting twist. We’ll have that explanation for you in our coverage, but to cut through all that and get to the meat of the matter; Coach Sherrier Lewis is back, and he came with conditions including a salary in the region of eight thousand dollars monthly. News Five was at the Belize Biltmore Plaza for the latest today.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Leroy Sherrier Lewis

To say that the room was packed to capacity as Belizeans waited with bated breath for news of Coach Sherrier Lewis would be an overstatement. But the status of the disappearing coach has been a definite topic of conversation, especially with Team Belize making a statement on the regional stage and planning to head to the CONCACAF 2013 Gold Cup in July 2013. The team returned on Monday to a heroes’ welcome, but the Coach did not, and nobody from the F.F.B. was saying much, until today, that is.


Ruperto Vicente, President, F.F.B.

“After the game against Honduras, I received a message from the coach indicating that he has taken responsibility for the loss against Honduras, and that he was not afraid to take on the responsibilities, because he believed that we could have won that game but some tactical changes affected our performance against Honduras, and the coach was man enough to say to me, Mr. Vicente, I am taking responsibility for it, and he sent that message to me. That was on Saturday of last week, just before I travelled to Costa Rica. Now on my travel to Costa Rica, upon arriving…well let me go back a little. The coach also said in his message that he was going to give the Federation an opportunity to review, to re-evaluate everything that had happened in Costa Rica, and then the Federation can decide what to do with the coach, but he set up some tasks for the Federation that the Federation needed to do.”


Ruperto Vicente

That part is clear, but then the explanation takes an interesting turn, as Vicente claims that a bogus letter entered the mix…a letter which apparently led to the Coach resigning.


Ruperto Vicente

“I also asked the Vice President Mr. Pelayo if he was aware of a letter sent to the Federation about our coach, and he said that no, he was not aware. So I said to him that it appears to me, until I can investigate this, but keep in mind that this matter, this information is still confidential, but as my Vice President I am going to share it with you, so I shared it with him. But somehow the information got leaked and it got to the coach, and the coach began to interpret that, with others that the Federation was going to fire him. Now I had gone to Costa Rica to watch the game and to be with our team. I had not gone there to discuss the letter with the coach because I did not want the coach to be distracted. I did not want our team to be distracted. And that is why I did not speak to the coach about the letter, and I did not have the intention to speak to him about the letter until we got back to Belize. So when the coach heard that we got this letter…the letter is simply stating that the coach owes some monies in the United States and that the court has ruled that he pay fifty thousand dollars. Now I have made my investigation. I called the Federation in Costa Rica to whom the letter is addressed and there is no record of that. All the telephone numbers that are on the letter are non-functional so that means that the letter is bogus.”


Vicente says that on Tuesday he spoke to the Coach, who said that he is prepared to return, pending certain conditions being met. He outlined those conditions, not the least of which is a monthly salary of six to eight thousand dollars.


Ruperto Vicente

“The coach has declared that, one that we do our best to ensure that the coaches for our top league are well trained. That is one. And he will take on the task of training those coaches once back in Belize. The coach as well also said that each of the semi-pro teams should have a U-17 and a U-20 team attached to it, and certainly that is our plan. And that’s the reason we’re going to be restructuring the league. That is the plan that we already have. And then thirdly, he said that he will be prepared to work with our national team with a salary of between three thousand to four thousand dollars per month.”


So the good news, at least according to the F.F.B., is that the Coach will return on February eleventh to prepare Team Belize for the gold cup scheduled for July, 2013. Mike Rudon for News Five.


As to the mysterious letter which ended up somewhere in the explanation…well, the F.F.B. has a motive for it. They figure that the allegation against Coach Sherrier Lewis, which was presented to the Costa Rica Federation by letter, was fabricated by one of the disgruntled teams which Belize beat during the competition.

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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2 Responses for “National Team soccer coach back with team”

  1. Storm says:

    I’m very happy that this winning coach is back. In less than a year he created a winning program, and I hope he stays with us a long, long time.

    As for the phony letter, it’s a shame [but not entirely unexpected] that bad losers would resort to such a smear, the Coach himself never should have disclosed it in a manner it could become public, and its phoniness should have been checked out BEFORE any action was taken on it.

    Hopefully the mess can be set aside with no hard feelings, and the team can focus on the Gold Cup games.

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