Sports — 31 May 2017
Mundialito fireworks!!

Hot race to playoffs in 6th Smart 13 & Under Mundialito at the MCC

BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 29, 2017–Now in its sixth year, the Smart 13 & Under Mundialito at the MCC Grounds in Belize City has been a big success so far; and indications are it could be heading for “higher heights,” as the level of play, and the intensity of competition increases. Indeed, with the most teams ever, 12 this year, now at Week 7 and 4 more weeks of games remaining, there are all of 8 teams still in contention for the top-4 playoff spots. We will have the complete official standings in our next issue, but from our unofficial numbers so far, Ladyville Rising Stars leads with 15 pts, followed by Heights FC with 14 pts, City Boys 13 pts, Hattieville Riverside Boys 13 pts, Brown Bombers 12 pts, Young Warriors 12 pts, Carlston FC 11 pts, Reality Youths 8 pts, Belize Elementary 3 pts, Collet Strikers 2 pts, Sampson Academy 2 pts, and Ladyville Jaguars 2 pts.

Six games were played on Saturday, May 27, in Week 7 of the competition. In game 1, Brown Bombers won, 2-0, over Ladyville Jaguars, with a goal each from Keyden Bowen and Delhart Dominquez. It was the same score in game 2, as Young Warriors clipped Sampson Academy, 2-0, with Keffer Perteau netting both goals for Warriors. Game 3 saw City Boys with the 1-nil victory over Collet Strikers, on a goal by Kayia Requena. It was a scoreless draw, 0-0, between Heights FC and Carlston FC in game 4. Game 5 saw Hattieville Riverside Boys with the 1-0 win over Belize Elementary, on a goal by Oswald Young. And in the last game of the day, game 6, Ladyville Rising Stars got a goal each from Caesar Garcia and Geroy Bainton, to clip Reality Youths, 2-0.

Let’s keep the faith
There were some strong opinions expressed by fans following the last game, in which the Reality Youths coach had been expelled from the game by the referee.

Grassroots football is for kids, and the focus is on participation and development, teaching the kids football skills as well as life skills – discipline, respect for authority and for one another. The focus is on fun and love for the game; but competitive instincts inevitably kick in; and as the boys get to that adolescent threshold of 12 and 13 years, the game gets more and more competitive; and that’s the way it should be. We’re not preparing them for a tea party; U-15 tournaments are a big deal in the region and around the world.

There are some shortcomings in the present Mundialito; and the very tight race to the playoffs has exposed some of those shortcomings which need to be addressed. Corners are an important part of the game. Organizers need to be more receptive to advice and concerns expressed by long time coaches and veterans; and new coaches need to be groomed and prepared to shoulder the awesome responsibility they carry in supervising the youths. Regrettably, when calm counselling seems ineffective, vociferous outbursts from some quarters is the inevitable next course.

For the sake of the kids, let’s put all that behind us, guys. The development of our youths and our game is the objective for all of us. Let’s get back on “the good foot,” do the right thing, apologies where we got too personal, and let’s make the coming weekend a thrill and a joy for all our youths in the Smart 13 & Under Mundialito, winners and losers alike. Respect the game, respect others, and we’re all winners at the end of the day. There is always next week, to try and get back in the winning column.

Big Mundialito weekend
The Smart 13 & Under Mundialito kicks into high gear with games scheduled for this coming Saturday and Sunday at the MCC. We should have the weekend schedule of games in our Friday issue.

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Eden Cruz

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