Twenty three football players making up the Belize Team left the country this morning for Panama where they will be engaging in five football matches against Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The team led by their imported coach and Acting President, Marlon Kuylen held a brief press conference this morning in the VIP Room at the Philip Goldson International Airport. Love News spoke with Kuylen on the new energy and spirit of the young men which was evident this morning.
“For too long we’ve heard criticism that the teams that are being chosen to go to any tournament is based on a lot of bias and things like this and there are even some racist slurs that have been thrown our way and so we thought that this time around we have to do things a little differently so we brought in an international coach and he brings a new style, a new mentality and luckily the players from the very beginning they respected him, they liked him and so it is a good relationship that the players and the coaches have going into this tournament. With improvements and trying to build moral one of the things we decided on was bringing a mixture of veterans with the young players because we are also looking towards the future and we got some extra funding and so we did a lot of improvements to the dorms. In the past a lot of the times they were uncomfortable but now we put in air conditioners in their rooms, we renovated them, we put in television sets so now when it is time for them to recover they can actually stay in a nice environment and be comfortable instead of trying to lay around and be somewhere cool, that has built morale, we improved the diet and we give them better balanced meals and all in all we treat them much better than they were treated before so if you look at them and ask them you will see the difference.”
Also during today’s press brief, the FFB unveiled the re-designed Belize Jaguars Jersey which Kuylen says is symbolic of a new way of doing things. Love News also spoke with Deon McCauley and Ian Gaynair who both exuded confidence in the upcoming games and satisfaction in the improvements by FFB.
“I think the team is very prepared, we have been working together for six weeks now very intensely and very disciplined set of players we have here and I feel that if we go out there and be disciplined and do what we have learnt in training and what the coach wants I think that we will come out with very good results but right about now I feel that the team is ready to play the first game on Friday against Panama and we believe that we can win that game and we also believe that we can win all the rest of games because the type of ball we are playing right now we feel confident that we can get good results.”
“Both my parents were born and raised here and I have family very well connected Michael Peyrefitte who used to be involved with the federation he is the one that got me connected with this whole program. I came here two years ago and played for the U23 team in the Olympic qualifiers tournament and they called me back to play now.”
“So how has the training and how has the practice been leading up to this trip to Panama?”
“It’s really intense really good I think I’ve seen a huge improvement from the last time I was here and the coach has brought a good outside perspective. Europeans are obviously more advanced with their knowledge even more so than the US so some of the things that he brought is really helpful. He does a lot of stuff that keeps us in good physical condition as well as technical skills works and that is really good because in the game when you are tired you still have to be able to maintain your skill level so it is really helpful and I think we are prepared.”
“I feel really confident from the coach came to Belize he brought a positive mentality towards the players and to this country and this coach is someone like a player coach, you would never know he is a coach because sometimes he just hangs out with us, he goes out with us and you would never know that it was the coach you would think that he is one of the persons that came to play for us. With all that said I think the preparation was very good, the coach brought a lot of new stuff, he has a lot of experience because he is from Europe so I think they should keep this man around more to let Belize go further in football.”
“I understand that there were improvements to the playing conditions, the working conditions, team spirit conditions…”
“Oh man you gave me goosebumps just thinking about all the awesome treatment we are getting just for the dorms. Usually sometimes we would have to go sleep in hotels if he we had a game in Belize we would have to go to a hotel because the dorms weren’t properly fixed up now we have everything, we have AC, fans, tv we get more food, vitamins we get everything we need we are comfortable, when I go home on the weekend to my family I feel so good going home and taking a drive I have been getting the best treatment since I went up to Belmopan to stay and train.”
As we mentioned, the FFB has imported a coach from Poland, Richard Orlowskiwho has been to several countries leading football and soccer games. He spoke with the media today on his impressions of the players and their skills as well as the exceptional performance of Jordy Polanco whom has been classified as Belize’s Lionel Messi.
20-year-old, Polanco has been playing for the last four years. He says his fire and passion for the sport is what makes his performance up to par.
“Well you know Lionel Messi is a worldwide superstar and for me to be compared to him as a privilege and an honor, he is one of the best in the world. I respect Messi a lot so it is a privilege for me to be compared to him. With this tournament I can show a lot of my skills I believe in myself, I believe I can help my teammates and I hope I can get the opportunity to play. This comes naturally, this is natural talent but talent isn’t enough you have to work hard, train and you have to eat sleep and dream about football so that is what I do.”
“In terms of your social life is that all that it’s made up of ? Football?”
“That is all it is made up of, football. I dream about football and my dream is to become a professional football player. “
The first game is on Friday with Panama.