The BPFL’s Belize Defence Force football team, who drew 0-0 with Hankook Verdes on Sunday at the Norman Broaster Stadium, is being coached by former Belize national team coach Palmiro Salas. He succeeds Marvin Ottley, who, as BPFL pro-tem committee member, is presently assigned to the BPFL front office.
Salas, a Guatemalan national, is a long time Belize resident at San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. During his over ten years in Belize, he has coached a number of BPFL teams, including the Belize national team that won their World Cup qualifying “home” game in Guatemala City in early 2007 against St. Kitts/Nevis. Salas was subsequently fired by FFB President Chimilio, and there remains “bad blood” between them, as Salas maintains that he was not paid according to his agreement with Chimilio. In addition, before leaving his residence in San Pedro for a while last year, Palmiro had made allegations against Chimilio in connection with an assault he suffered from an unknown assailant in San Pedro. Palmiro believed that he was targeted by Chimilio because of his public accusations regarding their contractual dispute.
The new BDF football club president, Deputy Commander Javier Castellanos expressed very high hopes for this year’s team, which also includes Orlando “Leech” Jimenez, who openly boycotted the Verdes team’s CONCACAF “home” game in Guatemala City last year.
The return of Palmiro Salas to Belizean football, in whichever league, is noteworthy, as there is an accepted shortage of highly trained coaches in Belize football. Despite the over ten years of FIFA funding, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) has still not been able to produce and appoint a qualified Belizean as National Team Coach.