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Yabra and City Boys reeling from sudden loss of #1 fan, Orlando “Early Bob” Velasquez

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 28, 2020– The Yabra sporting community, and especially the City Boys football organization, is still recovering from the shocking news last week of the passing of their number one fan, 47-year old Orlando “Early Bob” Velasquez, whose body was reportedly found on Sunday afternoon, September 20, “by the sea near the House of Culture on Regent Street.”

At the sports desk, we learned of Early Bob’s passing from a page 19 story in last Friday’s issue of Amandala.

Both Yabra sports coordinator Jerome “Peeloff” Maheia and City Boys youth football club manager Leaton St. Clair concurred this morning that they have lost their most passionate and dedicated supporter.

“Early Bob was a great help to me in managing the youths,” said Leaton, “as he would always be encouraging them to stay away from trouble and stick to the team’s training program.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption in sporting programs across the country.

Though holding no official position in either Yabra FC or City Boys FC, Leaton said that Early Bob‘s dedication and commitment was unequaled.

In non-Covid times, “He would be the first to call me up and say, we need to get the youths back into training. And he would be there at all our training sessions or Marathon promotion games at Yabra Field or elsewhere in Belize City.”

In his younger days, Early B was not a standout in football; he was reportedly prominent for a while in cycling, and later was very much involved in weekend basketball tournaments at different locations within the city. But as his playing days diminished, Early B directed his focus and energy toward the youth teams coming out of the Yabra neighborhood.

Over six feet tall and still with an athletic physique, Early Bob did not appear to have any health issues, but some reports indicate that he may have suffered from hypertension.

Our sports desk first encountered Early Bob a couple years ago at the MCC Grounds, after a First Division amateur game in which his then 18-year-old son, Orlando “Bredda” Velasquez, had scored a spectacular goal. Our impression was that Early Bob was a dedicated and protective father, who was more concerned about his son focusing on getting a good education, than being too hasty in joining a semipro team, for which there were already offers.

According to City Boys manager Leaton St. Clair, as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Yabra and City Boys will be organizing an event in Early Bob’s honor at the Yabra Field.

From the sports desk, our sincere condolences to his immediate family, relatives and friends, as well as to his Yabra and City Boys football family.

Rest In Peace, brother Orlando “Early Bob” Velasquez!

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