BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 8, 2018– The guests on the Press Cadogan Sports Show on Krem Radio yesterday morning were recently elected Football Federation of Belize (FFB) President, Sergio Chuc, and Vice-President, Cruz Gamez. The new President expressed great optimism for Belize football going forward, and praised the accomplishments of his predecessor, Marlon Kuylen, over the past year. There is now unity in the football family, declared Chuc; and this was reiterated later by Kulyen, who, when we contacted him, said he had shared breakfast that same morning with the visiting two executives. Kuylen, who held the post of Acting-President for one year until the stymied elections were finally completed on December 2, 2017, is now continuing in his substantive post of Senior Vice-President.
Among his plans discussed on the show, President Chuc informed that the FFB has contracted former executive member Raymond Davis as Project Writer, and the FFB is focusing on some twelve different projects for funding from FIFA, an avenue that has been severely under-utilized by previous administrations. The focus will be on youth development countrywide, so the training of coaches will be a priority, along with heavy emphasis on providing equipment – footballs, cones, etc. to facilitate training programs.
Vice President Gamez, whose portfolio is Youth Development, expressed his intention to coordinate their youth tournament plans with the National Sports Council which has traditionally supervised primary school football tournaments, and the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA), which has been supervising high school competitions. The goal is to conduct simultaneous competitions at various age group levels in all districts, with an academy established in each district to pool and train the best talents at each age level to represent each district in national youth tournaments (from which national teams can be selected).
While Vice President Kuylen is assigned to National Team Programs (Elite), President Chuc ventured to inform the football family that it is an almost done deal, the appointment of eminently qualified Belizean, Phillip Marin of Dangriga, as FFB Technical Director. In deciding to focus on youth development, Chuc observed that the best players presently at our top level, the Premier League of Belize, are obviously the imported players, from Honduras, Mexico and Brazil, who themselves are not even near to making their particular national teams. Clearly, we are a way off from competing at the highest levels in our region, he noted; thus the need to focus on youth development. In that vein, he also noted that, this year the structure of the CONCACAF League tournament will place Belize in the “B” group, where we will be more competitive; and, with more games to play, our team will have more chances to develop our level of football to compete internationally, until we can progress to the higher level.
Another important move projected by Chuc is the implementing of a “B” League, which will be second to our top level Premier League. The “B” League would cater to young talents who get drafted by PLB teams, but see little playing time, which slows their development. While still remaining on their PLB team rosters, these young players would be able to simultaneously perform on “B League” teams, until they are considered ready to take up full time roles on their PLB squads.
With the focus on youth development, both gentlemen elaborated on the importance of conducting different age level tournaments, e.g. U-11, U-13, U-15, U-17, U-20 and Open First Division, in each district, and the FFB has secured office space from the National Sports Council in each district for the respective branch associations, which will be held accountable for conducting these tournaments.
Of course, time was limited in the hour and fifteen minutes-long show, but we managed to plug in a plea for the FFB President to lobby Sports Council for the installation of sorely needed bleachers along the western sidelines of the MCC, the historic home of Belize’s most populous football district. With much more to discuss, President Chuc promised to make another visit before too long on the Press Show to share more football information and ideas with the football family.