Belize Jaguars Prepare to Face Nicaragua on Friday
The Belize Jaguars are anticipating a big win on Friday night when they do battle against Nicaragua in an away match. Belize’s national team is participating in the first round of World Cup Qualifiers and having lost its inaugural match against Haiti, won convincingly in its second outing against Turks and Caicos a few weeks later. But will the Jaguars be able to make it past the Central American region? News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
It is do or die for the Jaguars as they prepare to face Nicaragua on Friday night in Managua. The football match is the third to be played by Belize in a series of World Cup Qualifiers in the CONCACAF Nations League. Having played against Haiti and Turks and Caicos, the team, led by Captain Deon McCaulay, is set to take on its next opponent in a bid to advance to the another round of competition.
Deon McCaulay, Captain, Belize Jaguars
“I feel very optimistic, I feel like the players we have here can do the job. I mean we have a lot of younger players and experienced players as well, so I feel like we are ready for the game. It was unfortunate that situation in Haiti but we have now moved past that and we are focused on Friday, like I said. That’s the most important thing for us to focus on and as professional players we have to learn to adjust to situations and make the necessary sacrifices to move the team forward.”
Moving the team forwards means defeating Nicaragua soundly on its home turf, a feat that may not be a walk in the park.
Marlon Kuylen, F.F.B. Executive
“The delegation left on Sunday at around midday and arrived in Nicaragua approximately twenty-four hours later and they traveled on a luxury liner bus and now they are well-rested and they are focused on the match at hand. We’re in a must-win situation. We need to beat Nicaragua and then hope that Nicaragua beats Haiti, then we will all be tied. It would be a three-way tie in points and then the team with the best goal record would then advance.”
For Team Belize, playing to win means adopting to the field of play. It’s nothing new for McCaulay but the responsibility falls on his shoulders to lead his teammates.
“As professional players, we need to adjust, we need to adopt to anything, any obstacle that comes into our way and I feel, I do not feel pressured at all about this game. I think it’s eleven versus eleven. The game is played on the field and so when that whistle blows and the team that is out there I am sure will give a hundred percent. I mean, me personally I’ve been in these situations before so all I, as the captain, will do is to try and guide the younger players as best as possible, along with the coaching staff, and go out there and give it our hundred percent.”
The state of readiness, according to coach Dale Pelayo sees the team poised for victory. It began with a training session on Wednesday evening.
Dale Pelayo, Coach, F.F.B.
“Yesterday we started our preparation for the game in which we had our first training at five p.m. and that was a success. This afternoon we have a technical meeting with the team, with the players and coaching staff and then we leave for final training at five p.m. which is the final training for the game on the pitch that we will be playing and so that is at seven p.m. The readiness for the team is that we are focused, we are ready.”