Today the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) unveiled a list of thirty-four players that have been selected to patriciate in training starting on Monday. FFB and the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and E-Governance have agreed to allow training in a bubble-type environment where players and technical staff will be tested and must remain throughout the entire period. The training period will also act as a selection process to finalize the team of twenty-three players that will be representing the jewel in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. Love News spoke to Executive member of federation Marlon Kuylen who elaborated on the federation’s journey to the world cup qualifies amid the pandemic.
Marlon Kuylen, Executive Member, FFB: “Since COVID and the SIs prohibited us from playing football or any contact sports for that matter and we’ve been unable to play and we’ve been unable to train so we’ve been lobbying with the new government since December to allow us to at least train in a bubble for these upcoming matches in March. However in preparation of the permission to train together the coaches have been giving the players weekly drills so that they can do their individual training to get themselves in shape for whenever they are called to camp. So on January 23rd the coaches conducted a physical test on these players that were active and the ones that passed that physical test were the ones that were called to camp because we finally got permission from the government last week Friday to train in a bubble for one month before we travel to play our two matches in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It’s good that we’ll be in a bubble for a month because all the players would be doing is concentrating and focusing on training, that is it. They can’t go home, they can’t accept anybody there and so they will be training for six days of the week. They will get one day off so that is an advantage for us. We are somewhat getting caught up in some negativity about us not being able to play at home and fingers are being pointed all over the place but we want the public to look beyond the negativity and the logistics I want to say and we have done our part, the team is anxious to start playing. They will prepare themselves to represent the country as best as they can so I want to ask the general public to lets look beyond all this and to get behind the team and cheer on the Jaguars.”
Head coach of the National “A” Men’s Football Team Dale Pelayo Sr. also spoke to Love News about the preparations that were done prior to today’s announcement.
Dale Pelayo Sr., Head Coach: “This process started from within November. We have selected somewhat about forty nine players including the international players and for us even the international players were given a task to work on their individual endurance, speed and strength and we have a Whatsapp group and so for us as the coaching staff to monitor these players we ask them on a daily basis to upload their training. And so during that period we were monitoring the players who were actually posting up on a daily basis their training and following the program that was provided to them. We called in the local players have them do a physical test on their endurance, their strength and their speed and that is why the list has been cut down to somewhat about twenty four – twenty six local players and those are the players we are calling in on the 22nd for two weeks to work with them. Now that they have worked on their physical condition you have to work now on game condition and so technically and tactically our focus for these training now will be on the pitch to work with the ball it has been almost a year that no football has actually been played in Belize and so our focus, my focus as the head coach is to work tactically with them for everything for us will have to be game related to get our players back on a rhythm playing football.”
The team will play their first match of the World Cup Qualifiers in Haiti on March 25, 2021, and their second match against Turks and Caicos on March 30, 2021 in the Estadio Pan Americano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.