And attention of FOX Sports
The Football Federation of Belize had some success with Costa Rican Coach Leroy Sherrier. But Sherrier left the country and the team amidst plans for the upcoming Gold Cup Games to be played in July in the United States. That left hopefuls for the team and the F.F.B. scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Today, News Five headed to the F.F.B. pitch in Belmopan and found a new coach, Andrew Mork and a team from FOX Sports dutifully following the team’s progress. News Five Jose Sanchez reports.
In the sweltering heat, hopefuls for the Belize National Football Team are training at the F.F.B. stadium under the watchful eye of a new National Coach, Ian Andrew Mork. Mork had coached in the semi-pro league and had also served as FFB’s technical director over the past five years. Familiarity may help the transition from former coach Sherrier Lewis to Andrew Mork.
Ian Andrew Mork, Coach, Belize National Selection
Ian Andrew Mork
“I think I have a good relationship with the players and they understand my coaching style. So I think that is a positive because I’ve worked with a lot of them before. But we are still at the beginning stages so we have a lot of work to do; just getting started. We are mainly in the selection process. We need to send a roaster of names for the Gold Cup of thirty-five players. So we are mainly focused on that and in the following weeks we will start to fine tune the actual team and the starting group that is going to play in that game.”
The team from the tiny nation of Belize which has less than four hundred thousand inhabitants has attracted international attention from Fox Sports.
Nick Waggoner, Director of Sports, FOX Sports
“I run around the world filming sports: American football, baseball, football; all sorts of sports for Fox. We do nascar racing and we basically try to go in and do profiles on athletes and teams and countries and try to capture the culture and the stories behind these people that love their sport.”
Performances in Trinidad and Costa Rica by players will not be forgotten, but there is a selection process for the team.
Ian Andrew Mork
“Well of course the players who have been doing well up to this point; I am not here to make any drastic changes. The last coaching staff and the last head coach, I think they did an amazing job. It is really a team right now and there is good team unity. I think that we just might have to have in mind that we might have to do some different things tactically once we are playing against the likes of the USA and in the Gold Cup. So I am just here to be a positive influence on what is already going on here.”
“There are such great stories in Belize. I think that it is such an underdog story of people that have to make a lot of sacrifices to play the sport that they love. They are not getting picked up in limousines and getting driven to games or taking the bus. They have to work three or four days a week to support the sport that they want to play on the national team and that’s not a traditional way to play. So I think that it is really about the love of the game and these people who are really genuine characters who have a lot of personality and they are doing it for other reasons other than just money and that is really refreshing.”
But before Gold Cup there are other games; in May, Belize plays against a team from Peten, Guatemala.
Ian Andrew Mork
“It’s May twenty-ninth, Heredia. I know a little bit about them. It is important for us to get some very competitive matches in before we go to the Goal Cup. We’re looking at that as maybe a game to try out some of the players that are still trying to make the final selection. That’s more of that type of game and that level is something that we would use for that. And then we are planning to play much stronger opponents, especially national teams leading up to June, but were still trying to finalize those games.”
Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.