Sports — 18 November 2015
Understanding Belize’s venture at UNCAF Women U-17 Qualifiers

BELIZE CITY, Tue. Nov. 17, 2015–A couple weeks ago on November 3, the FFB (Football Federation of Belize) released the names of 18 young female football players who would represent Belize “in U-17 Women’s World Cup Elimination Tournament to be held in Comayagua, Honduras from November 11th to 13th.”

The tournament is over, and a familiar script has been played, where Belize athletes gained “exposure” on the international stage.

It was an embarrassment, really; and one has to wonder if the exercise has done any good to inspire the development of the game among our young female athletes at home.

The Central American (UNCAF) Group B originally consisted of four entries, host Honduras along with Costa Rica, Belize and Panama; but Panama earlier withdrew from the tournament, leaving Honduras, Costa Rica and Belize. In retrospect, it raises the question if Belize should also have passed on this tournament, and concentrated more on development of our team for a better future representation.

Group B, played in Honduras between November 11-15, showed Honduras 9:1 Belize; Costa Rica 15:0 Belize; and Costa Rica 6:0 Honduras. So, Costa Rica emerged the winner of Group B.

Group A, which was held in Guatemala from November 4-8, had El Salvador 7:1 Nicaragua; Guatemala 4:0 Nicaragua; and Guatemala 1:0 El Salvador. So, Guatemala was the winner of Group A.

The two group winners, Costa Rica and Guatemala, thus qualified for the big CONCACAF tournament as the UNCAF (Central American) representatives.

Belize is a member of CONCACAF, which consists of 27 member country/associations, and they are separated into three main sub-groupings – UNCAF (Central American Zone, 7 members); CFU (Caribbean Zone, 17 members); and NAFU (North American Zone, 3 members).

The 2016 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship finals will involve 8 teams from the 3 zones – 2 from UNCAF Qualifiers; 3 from CFU Qualifiers; and all 3 from NAFU which automatically qualify to the finals, namely Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Belize will again only be a spectator to the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship, from which the top 3 finishers will earn a berth in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, to be held in Jordan from September 30 to October 21, 2016.

CONCACAF is only one of the 6 sub-groupings of FIFA, the world governing body of football. Those FIFA members will be allocated 16 berths in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as follows: AFC (Asia) – 3 berths, one of which is host Jordan; CAF (Africa) – 3 berths; CONCACAF (North, Central America and Caribbean) – 3 berths; CONMEBOL (South America) – 3 berths; OFC (Oceania) – 1 berth; and UEFA (Europe) – 3 berths.

The pattern is pretty much the same for all the FIFA tournaments. So, when we hear of our youths – male or female U-17 or U-20 participating in UNCAF (Central American) Qualifiers, we can better understand what it all leads to for the successful teams.

(We utilized Wikipedia, and for the above information.)

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