TAIWAN, Mon. June 8, 2015–Last year, there was a football tournament held here in Taiwan called the Copa Centro Americana (Central American Cup). There were a couple Belizeans playing for different countries.
This year, we assembled our own team of 23 Belizeans and 2 from Argentina. It’s something similar to the Marathons we often have in Belize, but you can only use people of your own nationality with 2 possible reinforcements who have to be Latinos (we had 2 who both were Argentinian/Taiwanese).
The participating countries were: Honduras (Champion), Belize (Sub-Champion), El Salvador (Third Place), Mexico-Colombia (Invited, Fourth Place), Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala & Paraguay (Invited). The tournament was held over 2 Sundays, May 17 and June 7. Each game lasted 40 minutes (20 minutes each half) with 10 minutes break.
Groups: (A) Honduras, Guatemala, Panama (Last Year Champion) & Belize; (B) El Salvador, Paraguay (Last Year Sub-Champions), Mexico-Colombia( Mixed) & Nicaragua.
Belize captain – Enoc Hercules; sub-captain – Wani Morgan.
1st Game – Belize 1:1 Honduras (Bze goal by Wani Morgan)
2nd Game – Belize 1:0 Panama (Bze goal by Brian Samayoa)
3rd Game – Belize 1:0 Guatemala (Bze goal by Wani Morgan)
Belize (1st Group A) vs El Salvador (2nd Group B), 0-0 in regular time. Belize won in sudden death penalties. (3 penalties stopped by Dale Neal, Belizean goalie.)
Belize vs Honduras, 0-0 in regular time. Belize lost 5-4 in penalty shootout.
Awards (to Belize): Belize – 2nd Place Trophy; Wani Morgan – Goleador; Dale Neal – Best Goalkeeper.
Special thanks would go out to the students of Taiwan who came to support the Belize team. Even though it’s around exam time, players and supporters alike made the sacrifice to be there for the team who lifted Belize name on high, gaining respect from all. We displayed our football, but also great character and unity.
We really appreciate the support of Belizean Ambassador in Taiwan, Ms. Cherie Nisbet, who was there, not only on both games to cheer on the team, but also provided financial support to us. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to participate in the tournament.
I must mention the atmosphere of unity among all the participating countries. We were accepted by all, including our Guatemalan brothers and sisters. Even though we might be half way across the world, and might have political differences at home, this didn’t prevent us from treating each other like brothers.
(Ed. Note: Big respect and love from back home to all Belizean ambassadors lifting up the name of the Jewel in Taiwan! We need to fix that flag, though.)