Tiny Belize Has World Cup Covered
By Parke Brewer
06 July 2006

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Of the 2,100 media accreditations for coverage of the World Cup in Germany, three went to the tiny country of Belize. And as VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer reports from Munich, you might call Belize television's coverage of the football championship a family affair.

Belize is a small, rather poor country, with a population of less than 300,000. It is located on the east coast of Central America on the Caribbean Sea, bordered by Guatemala on the west and south, and by Mexico to the northwest.

Saul Barrera is the host of a weekly sports program on Belize television called Teve Deportes. He has had the show for five years and has covered many sporting events in Central America, as well as the Gold Cup football tournament in the United States. Last year he thought, why not try to cover the World Cup in Germany?

On his application to FIFA, Barrera had to explain what his coverage plans were and write justifications for those who would be in his crew, especially because it's all in the family and includes one very young journalist.

The other commentator besides himself is his wife's cousin, Javier Langer. Their assistant is Barrera's 14-year-old son, Ricardo. Barrera told VOA Sports that Ricardo does a little bit of everything. He serves as a cameraman, audio man, helps with the computer files and whatever else needs to be done.

Brewer question: "Is he doing a good job?"
Barrera: "Yes, yes. He's a very, very good boy. He's a disciplined boy and helps me with so much."

Barrera and his Belize TV crew have been videotaping, producing and packaging a 30-minute show with game highlights, player profiles and features every day of the World Cup. "I put different shots for people outside the stadium, the color. The World Cup is that, the people, you know. It really, really looks beautiful."

Barrera says they do whatever voice-overs are needed, edit the shows on laptop computers, use a special program to compress them into smaller files and send them back to Belize over the Internet to be shown in their home country. "You know it's not the quality of ABC or Univision, oh no. But it's the first time I've tried to do all the jobs. What's important is the people watch me and I send information. The people very much like it. We get good comments. They're very happy for my work. (with what I'm sending back)"

Saul Barrera says it's been very tiring. He and his crew have been staying at a friend of a friend's place in Munich and then making long day trips to other German cities hosting World Cup games.

He says he's been getting feedback via e-mail that the Belize viewers like what he's doing.

So after covering this World Cup, even though it's been exhausting, would Saul Barrera want to do another one?

"Yes. I think so, yes. Because I like it. I like it. It's my first time and it's a very, very good experience."