And another Minister in charge of Youth and Sports who is on the defensive is Herman Longsworth. His ministry has been getting intense criticism because the National Football Team needs funding.

They didnít meet their target during the FFB Telethon, and so some members of the public believe that the Ministry of Sports should foot the rest of the bill, since it is Belizeís first appearance in the Gold Cup.

Today, we asked Minister Longsworth about that concern, and he explained why the Government cannot contribute any more money:

Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of Sports
"The government of Belize cannot - we don't have the resources to finance every single national team that wants to represent Belize, we can't do it. We believe that it is the responsibility of the federations, of the community, the private sector to move sports at this level. We have a responsibility to ensure that we move sports at the primary school and high school level where we impact at the majority of our population. We cannot be spending the majority of our budget on the minority of our citizens. If we were to support all these initiatives we would be spending 70% of our budget in 1 or 2% of the populations, that is not what we are here for - that is not the government's responsibility. We are here to ensure that we impact on the majortiy of the population - we love the fact that the national football team has achieved what they have achieved and they are going to represent us. And we love the fact that the community has decided to get on board and assist them, that is the way it should be. We will assist in any way we can but we cannot put out that kind of money because we don't have it and that is the reality. Let me also say that the government has already given $50,000 and we have supported in every initiative that they've had so far - we are supporting them but we are we to say to Volleyball who are going to represent as well, what are we to say to athletics who have just gone out and have won several gold medals - aren't they as important as football?"

The team plays its first game in Portland on July 9.

Channel 7