Belize U-21 footballers stun El Salvador

Good evening, I’m James Adderley and you’re absolutely welcome to this Monday issue of Sports Monday. The highly anticipated U-21 clash between the national football teams of El Salvador and Belize took us to the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga yesterday.

And of course, the flags emphasize the gravity of this encounter as both teams make a bid to move on to the next round of the Central American U-21 Football Championship. The last time a Belize Team participated in an international match of this magnitude was on April sixteenth, 2000, at the People Stadium in Orange Walk when our National A Team fell 3-1 to El Salvador.

Today it’s a brand new ballgame when a fresh new U-21 football team of Belize looking to make history, so let the game begin.

Folks, first half can be accurately described as mostly an extended feeling out process until some thirty minutes in, when El Salvador uses this rebound off a spotkick to fire this bomb that inches outside the sticks.

Belize gets its first legitimate chance to move the scoreboard in this ballgame some eleven minutes later. Marlon Mesa deals this beauty to team captain Ryan Simpson who really lets the Salvador goalkeeper off the hook.

At the other end, the visitors get a one on one chance at Woodrow West, who comes up with just the right touch to make a brilliant stop against a talented Jose Nelson Reyes. And at the half we have got a scoreless tie.

In second half it’s a completely different ballgame people, and here Jose Welson Reyes pushing forward, but the finish is lacking.

People, our camera didn’t get the picture, but the Referee did see number three Jose Enriquez unleash a vicious elbow to Ryan Simpson’s face inside the eighteenth, for which he gets red-carded and a penalty is awarded to Team Belize.

Marlon Mesa, a product from the west, steps up to execute- and it’s a world class beauty that will go down in history as Belize takes a 1-zip lead fifteen minutes in.

El Salvador tries to reply immediately and again its Jose Welson Reyes with the shot ... and again the Belizean defence holds firm.

Of course, with the 1-zip lead it’s a pumped up Belize Team that sees Ryan Simpson in traffic set table for Lennox Castillo who right-away right foot punch screams past the crossbar.

A few minutes later, Gilbert Swazo gets this wide open look at goal and guess what, he made goalkeeper Hernandez of El Salvador look good.

Team Belize then follows up with this scoring chance for Lennox Castillo, whose launch crashes against the crossbar.

Believe it or not, it’s more Belize on the offensive when Castillo sets table for Gilbert Swazo and again Swazo fails to covert.

In this press it’s Lennox Castillo on the move, but it becomes obvious that his left foot is not a factor in front of goal.

In the meantime this clash between Reyes and Harrison Tasher definitely displays the high intensity and serious physicality involved in this particular ballgame.

This press by the Salvadorans finds, the Belize defence flat footed which allows Jose Portillo to fire this low cruise missile, but Woodrow West comes up with a mighty fine and successful intervention.

It’s getting late and Salvador presses for the equaliser off this spotkick and again west passes the test.

At the other end, Lennox “Criminal” Castillo breaks down the visiting defence with this run to fire this right foot the rebounds off goalkeeper Hernandez. Deon McCauley picks up the loose piece and turns it into gold with a right foot tap.

Pandemonium and euphoria breaks out among the fans as Belize goes on to post the 2-zip big W, the first win of any National Football Team at this level of play ... it’s history and it does feels good.

Ryan Simpson, Captain, U-21 National Team
“We knew that we were faster than them, we knew that they were coming physical. So we knew that eventually once we got the ball up there we will give a lot of trouble. The players that we have, the controlance is good and the speed is beautiful.”

James Adderley
“Will 2-nill be enough to go into El Salvador? Obviously you have seen the physicality displayed in this ballgame.”

Ryan Simpson
“Yes, well I think the 2-nil is enough because the way that we played them today, I don’t know what they will bring in Salvador, they probably need a next team to beat us in El Salvador. I am not putting my hat too high that I can’t reach it, but I want to tell you all that we will try our hardest, we will try our best and we want to come back victorious. We won’t go out there for a draw; we will go out there to win. It will be the first time that Belize win home and I want to say that it is the first time that Belize will win away.”

Marlon Mesa, Goal Scorer, Belize vs. Salvador
“We control the whole nearly most of the game right, first half. And then second half like they just come and control it, but they mi can’t score pan we, check and the opportunity we get, we score it.”

James Adderley
“Your game plan for this team, set up by the coach, did it come to fruition; did it work out?”

Marlon Mesa
“Well it work out because we do a great job inna the field.”

James Adderley
“Deon, it was a wonderful goal. You took some time though to get acclimatised to this ballgame. Tell us about that.”

Deon McCauley, Goal Scorer, Belize vs. Salvador
“Well, I di come off the bench now right, because I mi di suffer from injuries, so I can’t play long. As I come in I just stay focus inna the game, I just get the ball, I pass it to Criminal, Criminal did his stuff on the line, he took a shot and the keeper rebounded it out and I just was right on top of it and I just put it behind the net.”

Dr. Bertie Chimilio, President, F.F.B.
“The fight was worth the while. To all the critics, it is time to come together; we have to the talent. To the government, we need to fix our fields. This is the first international match in Belize in six years and we own it. It is really a great feeling. And again, the players, the parents, the coaches, the Football Federation staff, the district association chairmen, the B.P.F.L. and its executive have been very, very supportive. I dedicate this victory to the youths of this country and to everyone else. This is definitely a time for celebration in this country.”

James Adderley
“What do you think will happen at El Salvador and how do we counter?”

Dr. Bertie Chimilio
“Well that is for the technical directorship to answer, but I want to tell you that we seem to be fitter than EL Salvador, the field in El Salvador is much bigger than this, so definitely throwing around the ball, playing with the speed we have, I think we could make it. You see the second goal came off of speed, so we hold the ball in the first half and beat them with speed in the second half; we could be in Cartagena, Colombia. Again James, I just want to say thanks. It’s been very hard financially, you know and this is an opportunity to call the business community and football, not only the F.F.B., but all the football clubs in this country need attention, need help. And please, put your money in sports, you’ll get it back.”

The Belize Team hit the road last night to El Salvador for Game two, which comes up Wednesday night. We certainly wish our guys maximum success, so stay tuned.

Turning to the cycling scene, the Masters Cross Country Classic, sponsored by Santino, ran from Roaring Creek to Loma Luz and swung back to finish in front of Leslie Imports here in Belize City yesterday for a distance of eighty-four miles.

At the turn around point, it’s Elbert Pope on the pace followed by Hubert Johnson, but the pelathon remains more or less intact.

By the time the race rolls through Camalote it’s Ernest Meighan and Robert Mariano in control of things.

Approaching La Democracia Village at mile thirty, this duo remains convincingly in the lead.

National Master Champion Elbert Pope mounts this gallant effort to trim the leaders, but he would fall short of that objective.

Going to the tape at Leslie’s Imports, it’s a two-man sprint. Robert Mariano is in the lead when Jawmaine puts on the burst. Ernest Meighan takes the title in 2006, Robert Mariano is forced in second place. Douglas Lamb then rolls in for third place in uncontested fashion.

And folks, it’s a six-man sprint for fourth and fifth, Ray Cattouse takes fourth and my man Kenneth Butler round out the top five. We say good good show Butty.

In other cycling news, the Junior Cross Country Classic comes up this Sunday April ninth. You will want to see the new generation taking care of things on bicycle. And the big open Cross Country ride set for Holy Saturday. You know that’s a biggie. Finally in softball news, the Belize Softball Association presents election of officers tomorrow Tuesday, April fourth at Rogers Stadium. All players and enthusiasts are invited to attend. The meeting begins at seven p.m.