BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 14, 2019– Of the 8 clubs in the Premier League of Belize (PLB), 3 are based in the south (Dangriga, Placencia and Punta Gorda), 3 hail from the west (Belmopan and San Ignacio/Santa Elena), and 2 from the east (Belize City and San Pedro); and in opening games of the PLB 2018-2019 Closing Season over the weekend, there were no losses suffered by teams from the south. Could this be a sign of a shift in the “balance of power” in PLB football, after western teams have shared the last 6 Opening and Closing Season championships – 5 for the Bandits and 1 for Verdes? Of course, the regular season is 14 games long, so we’ll see how it goes.
In the only game on Saturday night, defending champions Belmopan Bandits SC was held to a 0-0 stalemate by the young upstarts from Dangriga, Wagiya FC, who travelled to the Isidoro Beaton Stadium and came away with their first point of the competition from the draw. Wagiya has reportedly added the defensive skills of Belize City/Hattieville veteran Floyd Jones to balance their young attacking line-up.
Three Week-1 games were played on Sunday afternoon. Down south at the Victor Sanchez Stadium in Punta Gorda, home standing Freedom Fighters FC registered a 3-1 victory over Police United FC. Freedom Fighters got a goal each from Allan Barillas (33’), Alexander “Pleck” Peters (69’) and Tarrel Flores (90’); while the lone goal for Police was by Carlton “Fubu” Thomas (81’). Meanwhile, out west at the Norman Broaster Stadium, Verdes FC got a late goal from captain, Elroy Smith (87’) to secure the 1-nil victory over visiting San Pedro Pirates FC.
Here at the MCC Grounds in Belize City, it was the visiting Altitude Assassins FC from Placencia prevailing, 2-1, over BDF FC. Man of the Match was Assassins little midfielder, Rene Leslie, who has returned “home” after a stint with the Bandits. It was scoreless at the intermission, but from midway through first half, Leslie’s wizardry in midfield was creating openings in the BDF defence, and it resulted in a penalty early in second half. Assassins’ midfielder Miguel Garcia (48’) converted against Glenford Chimilio in goal for BDF; and a couple minutes later it was Leslie (50’) cutting between two BDF defenders to slip one past Chimilio for the 2-nil lead. Immediately, BDF coach Charlie Slusher countered with two substitutions, and it seemed to turn the tide a bit in favor of the army. A sudden left foot blast from 30 yards out by BDF right wing, young Camilo Sanchez from Corozal, cutting inside to avoid a defender, gave Assassins goalie Anthony Williams no chance, as it tore into the left upper corner of the net, to cut the lead in half at the 61st minute. BDF tried to press for the equalizer, but Assassins’ coach Wilmer Garcia also made some adjustments, bringing in the “fresh legs” of Elroy Coe and Alden Foreman, and the Assassins held on for the 2-1 victory.
It may be just “fus brok,” but nevertheless, in Week 1 of the PLB 2018-2019 Closing Season, all 3 southern teams are in the Top 4.
Upcoming Week 2 games:
Saturday, January 19
7:30 p.m. – Altitude Assassins FC vs Bandits Sport – M.A. Stadium
7:30 p.m. – San Pedro Pirates FC vs Freedom Fighters FC – Ambergris Stadium
Sunday, January 20
4:00 p.m. – Wagiya Sporting Club vs BDF FC – Carl Ramos Stadium
4:00 p.m. – Police United FC vs Verdes FC – Isidoro Beaton Stadium