BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 30, 2019– Some of the nation’s best young footballers were in action on Saturday afternoon at Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, where the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) hosted the championship matches for its National Inter-District U-15 Male and U-17 Male tournaments, that had kicked off almost four months ago with selections representing the ten “football districts” of the country, namely: Corozal, Orange Walk, San Pedro, Belize, Cayo, Benque Viejo, Belmopan, Mid-South, Stann Creek, and Toledo. After the regular competition and group playoff stage, it was down to the final two teams playing for the championship in each category.
And the modest crowd that turned out, most of whom had travelled to support their respective teams, witnessed some exciting football, where the young stars showed great promise for the future of football in the Jewel.
The U-15 Male game ended 5-2 in favor of the Orange Walk squad, who jumped to an early 2-nil lead, capitalizing on defensive miscues by Belize, with both goals coming from Zamir Bonilla (4’ & 15’); but Enoch Rhaburn (23’) cut the lead in half, to 2-1. Bonilla (34’) struck for his third goal to extend the lead to 3-1; but immediately after, Rhaburn responded (35’) to make it a 3-2 ball game just seconds before referee Juan Alas blew the whistle for the intermission. (The U-15 game was 35-minute halves.) The game was intense in second half, but Orange Walk fans breathed easier when Allen Castillo (48’) opened the lead to 4-2; and near the end, Allison Torres (68’) made it a 5-2 score. Congratulations to the FFB 2019 U-15 Male Inter-District Champions, Orange Walk.
The U-17 Male game also started disastrously for the Belize U-17, as tournament scoring leader Andres Miranda (1’) of Toledo shook the net in less than a minute, 25 seconds by our count; but Belize got the equalizer from Nigel Matus (46’) just before the half-time whistle by referee Ever Corado. It was a well contested game that saw a number of players suffering cramps, a combined result from the heat, the intensity of competition, and we suspect also their being unaccustomed to the artificial turf at the Isidoro Beaton. Miranda had to leave with cramps some 15 minutes into second half, and Toledo’s offensive threat suffered. At least 3 players from each team succumbed to cramps. The game winner for Belize came after a fine run toward the right goal line by Eldon Reneau and his shot was deflected out by goalkeeper Hollis Ramclam, only to be tapped in by Shemar Gillett (80’). And it remained 2-1 in favor of the Belize team until the long whistle for the ninety. Congratulations to the FFB 2019 U-17 Male Inter-District Champions, Belize District.
FFB President Sergio Chuc and other executive members were present for the awards ceremony that followed. (More details and pictures in our Friday issue.)