2011 will go down as the year in which Belizean football flirted with the big time. I’m James Adderley and here’s a brief glimpse back at the year in sports. We’re inside San Pedro Sula Honduras where the national football team of Belize was set to stage Game 2 of its 1st round World Cup 2014 series against Montserrat after handily defeating this Caribbean Nation in a 5-2 blast at Trinidad. Danny Jimenez forces this ball past the keeper to carve out a 1-zip lead at the 24th minute for team Belize. Jay Lee Hudson then pounces on this centre to tie the ballgame at 1-apiece after intermission. Deon McCauley who turned out to be Belize’s most important baller in 2011 gives his team a 2-1 lead with this sick left foot launch. Luis Mendez makes it a 3-1 win for Belize when he picks up this loose ball and smacks it into the far corner. Belize advances to the 2nd round in an 8-3 aggregate.
Our team started the 2nd round on a positive note with 3-nil bashing of Grenada but then dropped 2 in a row against the powerhouse Guatemala in Group E in a 2-1 loss at home and 3-1 defeat at Guatemala.
McCauley scored both Belize goals against Guatemala. Against Guatemala in Game 2, the national team play was disastrous—Shane Rene opened the scoring for the visitors. Marcus Julian made it 2-zip with this easy conversion. Craig Rocastle converted this set piece for the 3-0 lead. Clive Murray’s left foot made it 4-zip which gave reason for the fans to depart. And Ryan Simpson came off the bench to provide Belize with a consolation goal in the 4-1 loss.
Folks maybe a home win for our national team is like looking for a needle in a haystack because against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in November they again failed to grab the W. Clive Murray finds an empty goal in the early going as the visitors take a 1-zip lead. Deon McCauley mounts this individual effort to tie the ballgame at 1-apiece and that’s the way it ended.
People strange as it may sound; Belize defeated Grenada in the away game in a 2-zip blast on goals by Deon McCauley. More importantly his 11 goals in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier made him the global leader – a milestone not reached by any other Belizean footballer in our history. McCauley now has 15 international goals in total and he is our sportsman of the year.
Meanwhile it was the Placencia Assassins who wrested the Super league football from 2-time champion City Boys in 2011 in a rainy Saturday night inside the Peninsula. Wilmer Garcia finds Ashley Torres off this set piece for the 1-zip lead. In 2nd half Luis Torres picks out Wilmer Garcia with this corner kick and he makes it 2-nil in early second half. Deon McCauley converts this penalty to cut the deficit in half for City Boys. And that’s the way it ended as Placencia takes the title.
Meanwhile big respect to La Ruta Maya and in 2010 they gave us a superb sow and here is the start to the last leg from Burrell Boom to Belcan Bridge. At the finish, it’s still a 2 boat race between Zip rider and Belize Bank. This surge by Zip Rider is not good enough for the stage win but it’s enough to give them another title. Zip Riders wins in a total time of 18 hour 4 seconds while Belize Bank totalled 18 hours 5 seconds—you do the math.
Race makers paddle in for the female title and Walt a Ting proved to be the best in the master’s class. 130 riders featuring 17 teams were suited up for the 83rd annual Cross Country Title as Belize looked for a local champion after a 4 year drought. Luis Santizo, a Guatemalan riding for Super City Cycling Club took the 140 miles in 6 hours 8 minutes 10 seconds. Carlos Hernandez of the Guatemalan national team rode in 2nd. 2006 champion, Shane Vasquez of Western Spirit came out of nowhere to grab 3rd place and Belize’s best finish. Jeremy Coin of Hincappi rolled in for 4th place and the rider who should have really taken the garland in 2011, Darwin Brown, settles for 5th place after a poorly managed ride.
In closing we salute Shalini Zabaneh Belize’s best female cyclist who wins any female race if she wants to including the Annual Cross Country Cycle Classic. This year, she travelled to the Caribbean Cycling Championship at Jamaica where she won Gold in the 43 mile road race and bronze in the time trial. She is the only other athlete to challenge Deon McCauley for sportsperson of the year in 2011. Shalini also won the female class in this year’s Lionman Triathlon.
We must also salute Kaina Martinez, the Central American Gold medallist who won the 100 meters in the national track and field championship. Kudos to Gloria Serano, Central American Gold medallist who won the discus throw in the national championship. Tricia Flores makes our list, another Central American Gold medallist who took the Long Jump title in the national championships. And of course, the Sadie Vernon Basketball Team that won the National Secondary Schools Basketball Tournament.
May the New Year bring betterment to all our people.
Jah overall, I’m James Adderley.