BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Jan. 7, 2016–The Belize City high school (CSSSA) football tournament kicked off this evening at the MCC Grounds, where, since the weekend of October 4, 2015, there has been a three-feet deep, and a foot and a half wide trench around the field, just about three to five feet from the sidelines. In a city where gang turf tension is a stark reality, the well fenced MCC remains the most secure venue for young men from all parts of the city to congregate for supervised sports competition.
The Premier League of Belize team, Belize Defence Force FC decided to cancel its home games at the MCC after the trench was dug one Friday evening, so city fans got to see no more PLB games at the MCC since October of last year. But amateur football continues to be played at the MCC, with the Smart 13 & Under, CYDP Peace Cup, the BDFA Interim U-15, and now the high schools have started their CSSSA football tournament. There have been a few incidents where players have fallen into the trench; but, as far as reports received, there has not been any serious injury.
Today, it might have been different. Less than a minute after kick-off this evening, with adrenalin high, two opposing players chased a ball toward the western sidelines, and after a hard tackle, one went crashing down into the trench. His lower body was out of sight inside the trench, while his upper left rib cage was jolted against the vertical earthen embankment. Visibly shaken and holding his side, the player, Wesley captain Deandre Pitter had to leave the game for a few minutes. Luckily, it appeared that no bones were broken, and he returned to the game nursing a bruised rib, and played the rest of the game.
That was a close call!
What will it take for the authorities to start rectifying the damage that has been done to the MCC Grounds in the name of “renovations”? Does someone have to break their back or their neck?