BELIZE CITY–Well, the champion of the Premier League of Belize 2014-2015 Opening Season will come out of Belmopan again; that is because both teams in the finals, defending champion Belmopan Bandits and current sub-champion Police United, are using the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan as their home field this season. Of course, the Bandits are more legitimately the Belmopan team, as their track record in Belmopan goes all the way back to the nineties, while the Police team has moved around a bit, playing at one time in Belize City, before moving their home field to the capital, Belmopan.
Game 1 in the home-and-away PLB championship finals series was originally scheduled for for Saturday, January 10, at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium, but was postponed due to rain, and is now scheduled for this Wednesday night, January 14, at the same venue. Police is the #1 seed, so the first home game will be for the Bandits, and the return match this coming Saturday night will be Police’s home game.
Reflecting on their recent encounter last week Wednesday night in the final game of the playoffs, both Bandits and Police were missing some key players who might have an impact in the finals. Bandits midfielder Denmark Casey, Jr. and Police midfielder Trevor “Burger” Lennen were both serving red-card suspensions, but should be back for the finals. Also missing from the Bandits for much of the playoffs was defender Ian “Yellow” Gaynair, who was reportedly out of the country, but was back on the team bench last Wednesday, and will be available for the finals. Also available for Police in the finals will be goalkeeper Jamie Brooks, who was also serving a red card suspension.
This has been an extremely competitive and unpredictable PLB season, both regular and playoffs, so far; and the finals promises to be just as evenly matched.
Reviewing the record of their encounters over this past season and playoffs, the argument can be made that probably the Bandits are “due,” having been clipped three times in close contests by Police. In their only regular season meeting, it was Police 1-0 in a back match on Wednesday, October 22. And in the playoffs, Police dropped the Bandits, 2-1, on December 20; and again, 1-0, on Wednesday, January 7. But, likewise, it can be argued that Police is also “due” to turn the tide on the Bandits in finals play. In recent times, Bandits and Police have clashed twice in the finals; and on both occasions, the 2012-2013 Opening Season and the 2013-2014 Closing Season, the Bandits emerged as champions. Any which way, with both teams playing an exciting style of attacking football, it promises to be “one helluva” championship series.
(Police were also sub-champs to Placencia Assassins in the 2011-2012 Closing Season; but they, Police, won the championship over FC Belize in the 2012-2013 Closing Season. Will they be bridesmaids a fourth time, or will this be their second championship. Meanwhile, the Bandits have been to the “Big Dance” three times over the same period, and three times they were champions – 2012-2013 Opening Season, 2013-2014 Opening Season, and 2013-2014 Closing Season.)
Game 1 of the finals:
Wednesday, January 14
7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits FC vs Police United FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium