BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 2, 2023
Belize is hoping that winning its first ever regional tournament grouping will improve its 26th ranking among CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, one of FIFA’s six continental governing bodies for association football) 41 female senior national teams as of August 28th.
While it is no longer in the last quarter on the ranking list mired among the small island nations, it still ranks last in Central America but now heads its League C, Group A rivals (Aruba 30, Turks & Caicos 33, Bonaire 37) in the Concacaf W Road to The Gold Cup Tournament and is a single point away from claiming the group’s crown.
Winning the group will not vault Belize near its neighbors such as Costa Rica 3, Jamaica 4, Mexico 5, Panama 6, Guatemala 9, El Salvador 13, Guyana 14, Nicaragua 17, and Honduras 19 in the CONCACAF ranking, but it will be promoted to the next level, from League C to League B in the tournament.
Belize currently leads League C Group A with 12 points from 4 wins in 4 games played, having scored 14 goals without conceding any or registering a draw.
It is trailed by Aruba (6 points), Bonaire (4 points) and Turks and Caicos with a single point from a lone draw.
The competition should get stiffer since the Lady Jaguars played 3 of their first four games at home, and are now scheduled to play return matches with Bonaire on Thursday, November 30 at Stadion Antonio Trenidat, Rincon, on the island of Bonaire; and Aruba on Wednesday, December 6 at Guillermo Prospero Trinidad Stadium, in Oranjestad, Aruba.
They opened this tournament at home at the FFB stadium with a 2-0 defeat of Aruba on Thursday, September 21, with goals by Mikhaila Bowden (65′) and captain Sabrina Eiley (90 +1’).
They then blasted Bonaire, 3-0, on Monday, September 25, on another goal by attacking defender Mikhaila Bowden (33’), and a brace by Khalydia Velasquez (48’ & 64’), who was also the leading scorer in Belize’s National Amateur Women’s League’s 2023 Opening Season tournament.
They played their first away game against the Turks and Caicos Islands, a 6-0 victory at the TICFA National Stadium there, (Mikhaila Bowden 11′, 67′; Khalydia Velasquez 36′; Shamika Lambey 49′; Sabrina Eiley 54′; Ashley Rodríguez 77′), before returning home to complete the sweep with last Monday, October 30th, 3-0 victory (Katie Jones 44′, 52′; Khalydia Velasquez 48′) at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan.
The team has 3 two-day camps scheduled on November 9&10, 23&24, 27&28 to prepare for their dates with destiny in a month’s time, and very likely Belize’s female football first regional championship.