BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 6, 2015–We promised to give a flashback/tribute last week on two outstanding names in Belize football lore, one for his outstanding performance on the field, and the other for his all-around talent and contribution on and off the field in Belizean football/music/culture. Technical difficulties have handcuffed us (our malfunctioning micro-cassette recorder has rendered much of our taped interviews with these gentlemen obsolete in the digital age; unless we can somehow locate a functioning micro-cassette recorder); but we will begin sharing what we have available this week on Canalete. After Canalete, we will discuss Winty J.
When you talk about football from the late 1960’s through the mid 70’s, one man who stands out as the giant “between the sticks” is without a doubt Rupert “Canalete” Anderson, who was the starting goalkeeper on a number of All-Belize selections in that era.
There are a number of big goalkeeper names that dominated the Belize City football scene at different times over the period of the late 1950’s through the ‘70’s, including Charlie Gardiner, Wilfred “Palmer” Davis, Nelson “the Roo” Robinson, Elston “Bouza” Stoddard (deceased), and then there was Rupert “Canalete” Anderson. After Canalete, other big names come to mind like Karl “Bunu Cal” Robateau, Noel “Flying Fargo” Ferguson (deceased) and Orin “Coco” Orio of the mid to latter1970’s era.
I recall that in 1972, when a dance (Bob Reneau Dance Troupe), music (Lord Rhaburn Combo), football (reinforced Amateur Sporting Club) and volleyball contingent travelled to Agua Dulce, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Rupert “Canalete” Anderson, who held goal for Landivar at the time, was the starting goalkeeper on that team which played to a 2-2 draw with the “Seccion 22” selection. ASC was then sponsored by Mr. Hubert Bradley, but its best performance in the City competition was third place. For this venture, players were selected from other teams, and the reinforced squad was then coached for a couple weeks by Angus Vernon, then player/coach of reigning champions Landivar. I remember that Edward “Thor” Middleton starred on that selection, and anchoring the defence was Landivar sweeper Clarence “Willie” Williams. ASC was a decent team, and a couple of our players were certainly All Belize material, but when players from other teams are drafted for such a trip “a fareign,” it is an honor and a distinction that means you are one of the best. Such was the caliber of Canalete.
Still an imposing figure of six feet three inches, and not much more than his 190 pounds playing weight when he was boss between the sticks at the MCC, Canalete now moves stealthily, almost feebly, as he is easily short of breath, exhibiting a four-inch scar on his upper right chest near his shoulder, the evidence of major cardiovascular surgery about four years ago. He makes regular trips to Miami for a medical check-up, always returning home to his common-law wife of 21 years, Jackie August, with whom he has six children, at their home on Curassow Street in Belize City. (He also has eleven other children from different unions in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.)
We chatted with Canalete outside his home on Curassow Street, and gleaned a few insights into his rise to football stardom in Belize.
Rupert “Canalete” Anderson was born in Belize City on December 12, 1946, to Ms. Caserine Bennett and Mr. Mansfield “Tarri” Anderson, both deceased.
Rupert said he spent his early years growing up in Hattieville, and started playing as goalkeeper with a junior team named Rapona Shell. After that, it was straight to senior with the Hattieville team that participated in the Belize City competition. Neither team was outstanding, but the tall youngster in goal for Hattieville apparently caught the eye of scouts in Belize City. (to be continued in our next issue )