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#469212 - 07/30/13 10:58 AM Finnegan Says Bze Football Has No Midfield
Marty Offline

And Canít Pass The Ball

This weekend, the Gold Cup ended with the USA edging out Panama one-nil in a close final game. It was the closest finish for the American who had smashed all their competition - Belize included - with dominating performances.

Watching the game in Chicago were two very special guests of CONCACAF, Woodrow West and Ian Gaynair. They earned the invite to an all expenses paid evening in Chicago and a trip to the game by displaying outstanding integrity and patriotism when they turned down a bribe from a match fixer who had been following Belizeís team.

And that is about the brightest spot coming out of a Gold Cup in which Belize finished with no points and the greatest goal differential. Itís a learning experience so we take it in stride, but the sober discussion about what direction that stride will be in, has to start. And self styled football historian Michael Finnegan is willing to set things off. For months heís been contributing to the Amandala with compelling narratives of football in the 60ís and 70ís when Finnegan was a team manager. His acumen in the sport is considerable, and last wee we sat down with him for an extended conversation on the nationalís team strengths and weaknesses. Hereís what he told us-

Hon. Michael Finnegan- Minister of Housing and Urban Development
"I watched the three games and in my view the Belize Team tried their very best and we have to congratulate them and their performance - 'when a man on earth has done his best, not even the angels in heaven can do better.' "

Jules Vasquez
"They have achieved what no other Belizean has."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"They have achieved more because they have the opportunities right now. Let me tell you something - the Dangriga team that won the first inter football competition would have beaten this team anytime 3 - 0."

Jules Vasquez
"No, how can you say that?"

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"That is my view."

Jules Vasquez
"Yes, but it's not even an all-star team that you're talking about."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"I'm telling you that is my view, I'm telling you that the level of football - where it was. I watched the Belize Team against the United States - the Belize Team couldn't pass the ball. You cannot curate offence if you can't pass and that game all of them dropped back in their defensive mode. There was no middle - that is where Pappy Smith and Pilis Neal were needed, that is where Gary Orderley and Buck Palacio were needed - that's all I am saying. The Belize Team have absolutely no mid-field, if you don't have mid-field then you cannot have offence - it is not taking away anything from the Belize Team because I don't want to debase anybody. The Belize Team - in my view - they did their best, but something is wrong with the team because the team is not all that bad and we have to touch the button to know what is wrong with that team. In my view, there are two things that I think is wrong with the Belize Team - they cannot pass the ball and they cannot pass the ball consistently; they cannot turn back a pass to defence when they see that they cannot go well. I want to actually find out - let all brains get together and let us touch the button on what were missing out there. If we touch the button then we can have our players doing what we are suppose to do."

Tomorrow, weíll have part two of that interview when Finnegan talks about his favourite players on the national team and how they would compare to the starts of his era.

Channel 7


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#469279 - 07/31/13 10:50 AM Re: Finnegan Says Bze Football Has No Midfield [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Finnegan On Football, Part 2

He may be minister of housing, but Michael Finnegan is also a football authority. Last night he discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Belizeís Gold Cup team Ė and tonight, he offers some historical perspective on their accomplishment. As you might guess, he thinks the players of his generation would have fared better at the world cup, but, first, weíll let him explain why he doesnít buy the argument that playing at altitude and travelling seven thousand miles affected the team.

Jules Vasquez
"These players were playing in unfamiliar grounds, at altitude, unfamiliar food, they had to fly great distances - like you have to take a five hour flight from Utah and you're playing within 36 hours."

Hon. Michael Finnegan - Football Historian
"I don't buy that - what we are trying to do, we are trying to excuse our way out of what happened in North America. I don't want to excuse our way of what happened out there. When I was involved in football, when we leave from Belize City - we leave in the back of a truck and from here to Cayo it's 'bang, bang, bang' until you reach because the road was so bad. How long does it take you from here to Cayo now?"

Jules Vasquez
"One and a half hours, 90 minutes."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"Well it took us 4 hours to get to Cayo in those days - your whole body is covered with white dust from your head to your nose, to your eye, to your mustache, your beard to your entire body - it's totally white. You're taken to a restaurant to have dinner, that is at 2:00 and when you finish eating then you go to Broaster's Stadium about 3:30 and the game is to start at 4:00 and my team executed, we used to play for half of an orange - when the halftime is over they gave us half of an orange at the gate then they increased it to a whole orange. We were playing against the likes of Speedy Henry and TanTan Garcia and Pappy Smith and Pilis Neal and Turo Ortega - you know what kind of team that - that I am telling you about?"

Jules Vasquez
"Those players that you're talking about are great in that era but these players have more nutrition - they are faster, they are stronger."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"Stronger? I don't know if they're stronger or faster Jules."

Jules Vasquez
"But in every sport has gotten faster and stronger in the past 40 years."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"I don't know about that about that in terms of football, maybe that is your view and I have to respect your view and maybe you are right."

Jules Vasquez
"Well if it happens in every sport then you can't say..."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"You have a point and I won't argue with you."

Jules Vasquez
"Nation's Cup, Copa CentroAmericana - if they had those things in that era, do you think Belize would have excelled in this region."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"We would be flying kite - that's my view."

Jules Vasquez
"Something must have gone wrong then because if we had reached a fairly proficient level, regionally, in the late 60's and early 70's and then..."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"Something went wrong."

Jules Vasquez
"Well you must know"

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"No Jules I don't know what went wrong - fans don't even go to game again."

Jules Vasquez
"Also you have seen the fact that none of the facilities have developed and you've written about it in Amandala - some of the fields have even turned into housing development."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"Look at MCC Grounds - that thing is a disgrace."

Jules Vasquez
"But you're in government!"

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"I'm telling you it's a disgrace, I don't want you point at me and try to corner me to try to politicize - I'm telling the field is a disgrace."

Jules Vasquez
"It happened under PUP and UDP and maybe that's the thing.."

Hon. Michael Finnegan
"We won't hide it but maybe by me saying it and me writing about it might make it better."

Tomorrow, weíll have the last installation from Finneganís extended discussion of the National Team, where he talks about his favourite players.

Channel 7


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