BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 7, 2021– A Belize National Team captained by veteran striker Deon McCaulay gave their all in a valiant effort on Friday evening in Managua, Nicaragua, but fell 3-nil to a highly motivated and focused Nicaraguan national team in our last Group E match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers. Only the Round One group winner will advance to Round Two, and that will be decided between Haiti and Nicaragua, because Haiti drubbed Turks and Caicos Islands, 10-nil, on Saturday, to level with Nicaragua at 6 points apiece. The Haiti vs Nicaragua match will be on Tuesday, June 8, at 2:00 p.m. in the Sylvio Cator Stadium in Port Au Prince, Haiti. See updated standings below.
For various reasons, the Belize Jaguars travelled with only 17 players for this encounter, featuring a number of young players who will likely form the nucleus of the national team going forward. Aside from no current local competition, the major difficulty the Belize contingent faced was being unable to secure a direct commercial flight into Nicaragua; and that forced the team to travel by bus from Belize, leaving last Sunday morning, May 30, and arriving on Monday in Managua, Nicaragua after a 25-hour journey including lunch stops on the road.
The game was scoreless for the opening 25 minutes, when Nicaragua took a 1-nil lead from a free kick by Richard Rodriguez (25’). Two quick goals early in second half from Byron Bonilla (46’) and Juan Barrera (51’) gave Nicaragua the 3-0 lead which they held until the final whistle.
Under head coach Dale Pelayo, the Belize team featured: goalkeeper – #1 Charles Tillett; #3 Norman Anderson; #7 Ian Gaynair; #8 Deshawon Nembhard; #23 Donel Arzu (#17 Darrel Myvett at 61’); #15 Denmark Casey; #16 Jordy Polanco (#14 Jahlin Pelayo at 78’); #21 Nana Mensah (#6 Jordan Casanova at 79’); #9 Deon McCaulay; #19 Gilroy Thurton (#13 Izon Gill at 78’); #20 Krisean Lopez (#5 Ean Lewis at 54’). Only substitute goalkeeper #12 Isaac Castillo did not see action.
An all Honduran referee team officiated the match, headed by Referee #1 Nelson Salgado.
The Belize contingent arrived back safely inside the Jewel yesterday morning, Sunday, June 6.
Great effort, young Jaguars! The future is yours.