BELIZE CITY, Wed. Dec. 27, 2017– Though it started more than twenty minutes after the advertised 1:00 p.m. kickoff time, the first semifinal in the CYDP Peace Cup 2017 1st Division tournament provided some intense and competitive football action for the scattering of fans that showed up on Saturday afternoon at the MCC Grounds. Both the semifinals and the finals are best-of-two games series, and, while there were a number of lopsided scores during regular season, the playoffs promise to be quite different. In the two semifinals played on Saturday, there was only 1 goal scored. The first semifinal between Kelly Street FC and Tut Bay ended in a scoreless draw. And the other semifinal was scoreless in first half between FC Elite and Stars Academy. It was an evenly contested match that saw both goalkeepers, veteran Stanley “Jordan” Reneau of Stars Academy and young Alvin Mangandi of FC Elite, making some spectacular saves. The difference of the ball game turned out to be a gem of a goal at the 58th minute by FC Elite’s tall young striker, Orlando “Bredda” Velasquez, who was driving right near the top of the eighteen on a wet pitch from intermittent rains, then broke back to go left, and immediately drained a left foot grounder to the left corner that was just out of reach of a diving Jordan, who had positioned to narrow the angle when Velasquez drove right, but could not recover in time to intercept his shot to “the farthest corner;” 1-nil, FC Elite over formerly undefeated Stars Academy.
The semifinals take a break this weekend, and then the same teams will meet again on Saturday, January 6, in the second leg of the semifinals.
(Sports Editor’s Note: As an added bit of information, “Early Bob” Velasquez, father of Orlando “Bredda” Velasquez, confirmed to us this morning that his son was indeed playing recently in a few games with the Silk Grass team in the Mayor’s Cup tournament in Griga. We had confirmed earlier with Stann Creek F.A. Chairman, Kevin Flores, that the name of the no. 18 on Silk Grass, who had scored a few goals, was one Orlando Velasquez. That Silk Grass no. 18 had caught the eye of visiting Belizean from L.A., Charles Hogan, who was featured in a few articles in our sports page in September and October of this year. Hogan said, “This kid is the future of Belize football,” or something to that effect. Regrettably, because of some passport issues, 19 year old Orlando could not make the trip with the Belizean U-23 team that recently represented in Nicaragua.)