Sports — 20 September 2012

There are times when football interest and excitement has peaked in Belize, for one reason or another. The appearance of the young Dunlop around 1958; the emergence of the Mighty Avengers in the mid-60’s; the Charger-Berger 404 tangle of the mid 70’s; the Coke, “Rest of the World” phenomenon in the mid 80’s; the semi-pro sensation of the 90’s, with great teams like La Victoria, Acros Carib, Juventus and Sagitun dominating the sport into the turn of the century.

But then a decade of doom and gloom set in, as a selfish and dictatorial era of the FFB resulted in disgrace and embarrassment on the international amateur scene, as well as with a number of national club champions, notably Kulture Yabra and Belize Defence Force, being denied the opportunity to represent the Jewel in CONCACAF. The last Belize club to represent in CONCACAF was then San Ignacio based Hankook Verdes, who followed the FFB path of shame with our National Team, by also taking their “home game” to Guatemala in September of 2008, followed shortly after by their captain, who didn’t make the Guatemala trip, leaving the club and joining the BDF squad. The Verdes club has since returned to their roots in Benque Viejo.

And so it was that, when the football tyranny was finally ended in March of this year, and a breath of fresh air blew across the Belize football landscape, some forgotten football faces slowly began to re-appear at their old football stomping grounds. The recovery has been slow, as some had boycotted the game for years; but now, they are beginning to come back.

There is hope again in football. The FIFA money is finally beginning to reach the clubs, and the players have rekindled dreams of a glorious and meaningful championship, with a chance to step on the big stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.

With bright lights on the horizon, the intensity of competition was fierce from the opening match of this Premier League of Belize 2012-2013 Opening Tournament four weeks ago, and already it looks like a real war in each Zone to make it to the semifinals. (There will be a double round-robin in each Zone, along with each team playing 4 out-of-zone matches; after which, the top 2 teams from each zone mix it up in the semifinals.)

In the North (Zone A), after their encounter on Sunday at the Norman Broaster Stadium, neither BDF nor F.C. Belize can claim that their net has not been shaken; and BDF suffered their first loss, falling 2-1 to F.C. Belize. (F.C. Belize – John King and Michael Hernandez; BDF – Lisbey Castillo)

With their 2-0 victory over San Pedro Seadogs on Saturday night at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, Belmopan Bandits are now tied for 2nd place with BDF, who have the edge of total goals in the standings. (Belmopan Bandits – Woodrow West 75’, Denmark Casey 85’)

And at the San Felipe Football Field in Orange Walk, the young Juventus squad finally got in the winners column with their first victory, 2-1, over home standing San Felipe Barcelona, who are still winless. (Juventus – Michael Whittaker 2 goals; San Felipe – 1 by ?)

In the South (Zone B), defending champions Placencia Assassins defended their home turf with a 3-0 win over San Ignacio United to keep their unblemished record at 4 wins, no losses. (Ashley Torres 74’ & 89’; Luis Torres 85’)

Police United picked up their second win, a tough 1-0 victory over Paradise/Freedom Fighters at the FFB Stadium, pushing Police into 3rd place in their group. (Police United – Daniel Jimenez 1 goal)

And at the MCC Grounds, visiting Verdes FC maintained their 2nd place in the South standings with a 3-0 win over home based R.G. City Boys United, who have a tall, but not impossible task ahead to regain their footing in this grueling race for the top 2 playoff spots. (Verdes FC – Miguel Aguilar 1 goal, Julian Maldonado 2 goals)

       Week 5 schedule:
Thursday, September 20
7:30 p.m. – (B) San Ignacio United FC vs Police United  –  Norman Broaster Stadium
Saturday, September 22
7:30 p.m. – (B) Verdes FC vs Paradise/Freedom Fighters  –  Marshalleck Stadium
Sunday, September 23
4:00 p.m. – (A) F.C. Belize vs FC San Felipe Barcelona  –  MCC Grounds
4:00 p.m. – (A) Belize Defence Force vs Belmopan Bandits  –  Norman Broaster Stadium
4:00 p.m. – (A) Juventus vs San Pedro Seadogs  –  Louisiana Field
4:00 p.m. – (B) Placencia Assassins FC vs R.G. City Boys United  –  Placencia Football Field

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