BELIZE CITY–If the Premier League of Belize (PLB) was looking for a formula to obtain parity in the league, it could hardly have done much better, where the competitiveness of this race to the playoff is concerned. Despite the fact that 3 teams are now out of playoff contention, none of them is a pushover, and there is still room for upsets and heartbreaks for the 6 frontrunners chasing 4 playoff spots, as the regular season draws to a close. And none of the 6 teams is yet certain of a playoff berth.
Week 6 was completed over the past weekend, with two games each on Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23. And there was nearly a monumental upset in capital city Belmopan on Saturday night, where star studded Police United FC found themselves trailing 3-1 at halftime against visiting Paradise/Freedom Fighters from Punta Gorda. But in the end, after Freedom Fighters lost their sweeper and captain Wilmer Garcia to a red card early in second half, Police came back strong to take the 5-3 win. It was a real scare for Police United, whose playoff hopes may have been in serious jeopardy. Shaking the net for Paradise/Freedom Fighters were Kenroy Arthurs (19’) and Wilmer Garcia (23’ PK & 34’); while Police got their goals from Harrison “Cafu” Roches (28’ & 51’), Marlon “El Matador” Meza (59’ PK), Kishane “Grill” Pech (79’) and Amin “Tacos” August, Jr. (90+’). The other Saturday encounter took place at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence, and saw visiting Belmopan Bandits leaving with a 1-nil victory, courtesy of a 36th minute strike by Elroy “Bibs” Kuylen, to deal home standing Placencia Texmar Assassins their first season loss and first goal conceded.
On Sunday, at the Norman Broaster Stadium in San Ignacio, the always travelling FC Belize were 1-nil victims of their cellar dwelling host San Ignacio United FC, who registered their first victory of the tournament, courtesy of a second half goal from Cyril Simmons (73’). Meanwhile, down south at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, league leading BDF had to come from behind to gain a 2-2 tie against the upstart youngsters, Wagiya FC from Dangriga. BDF got on the scorecard first through Carlton “Fubu” Thomas (28’), but home standing Wagiya came back to tie and then take the lead with goals from Wendell Trapp (54’) and Brandon Cacho (65’), before BDF got the late equalizer through Jesse Smith (87’).
As tight as this playoff race is, the only game this coming weekend without big playoff implications is the match between Paradise/Freedom Fighters and San Ignacio United. San Ignacio, fresh off their first season victory against FC Belize, will be highly motivated; while the home standing Paradise/Freedom Fighters, still hurting from their near upset of Police United, will be without their sweeper/captain Wilmer Garcia, red-carded in last Saturday night’s match. But everybody knows, P.G. teams are always hard to beat in P.G.
When we talk about BDF vs Belmopan Bandits, Police United vs Wagiya, or Verdes vs Placencia Texmar Assassins, we’re simply talking war, people. It will be football fireworks across the nation this weekend as the race to the PLB playoffs gets hotter than hot.
Upcoming Week 7 schedule:
Saturday, November 29
7:30 p.m. – Belize Defence Force FC vs Belmopan Bandits FC – People’s Stadium
7:30 p.m. – Police United FC vs Wagiya FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Sunday, November 30
3:30 p.m. – Paradise/Freedom Fighters vs San Ignacio United FC – Toledo Union Field
3:30 p.m. – Verdes FC vs Placencia Texmar Assassins FC – Norman Broaster Stadium