BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 25, 2021– Yesterday, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) sent out a group picture of our national team players along with the coaching and management staff in front of the FFB headquarters building in Belmopan. There are some young faces in the crowd (unfortunately, covered by face masks); but only 23 of the 34 names called to training camp will make the first trip for World Cup 2022 Qualifiers on March 25 and 30, first against Haiti at their home, and then against Turks & Caicos Islands in the Dominican Republic. Competing for those roster positions will also be some 10 foreign based Belizean players who have the advantage of being engaged in full time competitive playing, while the Belize based players have so far been restricted to fitness and skills training only. The Ministry of Health has reportedly given approval for their training inside a “bubble” at the FFB Stadium beginning this week in preparation for the qualifiers.
Belize is presently ranked at #170 (out of 210 nations) in the FIFA World Ranking; and that puts us at #23 (out of 35 countries) in CONCACAF.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop any of our young players from dreaming of the possibilities if they should make the national team roster, and get a chance to show their stuff on the international stage.
There’s no harm in dreaming, and that’s why we take great pleasure in giving even greater highlights to the Pele story we first shared in our Tuesday issue. The message to any of our aspiring youth is, as Belize’s Wayne “Minnie Man” Reynolds once said around 1985, “The sky is the limit!” But there is a lot of hard work and sacrifice involved. Le’s go, Belize!!
When we were kids in the 1960s, all of us “ball per” wanted to be Pele, and the nickname stuck on a number of promising youngsters. Every generation has its stars, and on the world stage, Pele has been followed by many greats, but only Diego Maradona of the 80s, and in recent times Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have had their names mentioned in comparison to Pele.
It is an inspiring story especially for our Belizean youth, as more than perhaps any nation, Belize is presently desperately in need of a football savior to lift up our national spirit and sense of pride. Too many of our young talents have gone astray with the temptations and vices of night life, drugs and alcohol. Check out the Pele story below.