Sports — 21 December 2012

They have never met before in this Premier League of Belize Opening Season 2012-2013 Tournament; but they will clash in game 1 of the championship finals this Sunday at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan. We are talking about the North Zone #1 seed Belmopan Bandits and South Zone #1 seed Police United FC.

There were 6 teams in the North – Belmopan Bandits, Belize Defence Force, F.C. Belize, San Pedro Sea Dogs, Juventus FC, and FC San Felipe Barcelona; and 6 teams in the South – Police United FC, Placencia Assassins, Verdes FC, RG-City Boys United, Paradise/Freedom Fighters, and San Ignacio United.

Aside from a double round-robin within each zone, there were 4 out-of-zone (OZ) games for each team in the two zones – North and South – in this tournament, so some teams never got to meet in regular season.

For their OZ games, the Bandits met Paradise/Freedom Fighters (3:0), Verdes FC (2:0), RG-City Boys United (0:0), and San Ignacio United (2:1); they met defending champion Placencia Assassins for the first time in the semifinals (1:0 and 0:0), and they have yet to face Police from the South.

Meanwhile, in their OZ games, Police clashed with San Pedro Sea Dogs (3:1), F.C. Belize (3:0), Belize Defence Force (1:3), and FC San Felipe Barcelona (3:1); they got to avenge that loss to BDF when they met again in the semifinals (2:1 and 0:0), but they never stepped on the field against Juventus FC or Belmopan Bandits from the North.

Some critics have commented that certain teams had an easier schedule than others, because of the particular opponents that they did not get to face in their OZ games. Next time they propose that all teams get to face each other at least once, to better “level the playing field.”

Nevertheless, that is now all “water under the bridge.” The #1 seed from the north, Belmopan Bandits, and the #1 seed from the South, Police United, have both proven their merit by disposing of their #2 seed opponents, respectively, from the other zone in the semifinals.

Now it’s time for the finals, the Big Showdown, and the very first time these two excellent teams will square off this season. We’re looking at the best offensive team (Police scored the most goals in regular season – 30) versus the best defensive team (Bandits allowed the least number of goals in regular season – 4). The top “goleador,” Danny Jimenez of Police (12 reg. season goals) against the acclaimed best goalkeeper, Woodrow West of the Bandits.

The championship will be another home-and-away series, although both teams have the Isidoro Beaton Stadium as their home grounds. Police will be the home team this weekend, and they have chosen to play in the afternoon sun, while the Bandits have opted to play their home game next week at night.

Win, lose or draw, a Merry and Blessed Christmas to all!

See you in Capital City Belmopan:
Sunday, December 23
3:30 p.m. – Police United FC vs Belmopan Bandits – Isidoro Beaton Stadium
Saturday, December 29
7:30 p.m. – Belmopan Bandits vs Police United FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium

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