|Players and coaches of the San Pedro Turquoise Football Team
"WE DID IT!" exclaimed San Pedro Turquoise Manager Fully Hoare after last Sunday's huge victory over Lazio in the final game of the Belize Premier Football League (BPFL) Relegation Tournament. After more than two hours of play, which included two overtime periods, a winning penalty kick secured the number eight spot in the BPFL semi-professional division for the San Pedro Football team.
Only one point was scored by the Turquoise during the 90-minutes of regular play Sunday, leaving the championship match in a draw (tie) position. Having the home field advantage seemed to do the trick as the island team's goal by Sanja Pitts (his first game of the tournament) came in approximately the 25th minute of play. Lazio seemed to have the upper hand when it came to ball control but it was Turquoise who attempted to score at every opportunity. Ambergris Stadium fans really came alive during the second half as many goals were missed or averted by the highly defensive teams. It became a real "nail biter" for the San Pedro fans when Lazio appeared to score a winning goal in the second half, but this was reversed as the linesman called an offside penalty. Because of Lazio's 1-0 win two weeks ago, it was necessary for the Turquoise to win the match with two points. Since, the score was 1-0 in favor of the Turquoise at the final whistle, both teams were essentially tied at the end of tournament play, with one goal each.
Two fifteen-minute "golden goal" periods followed with each team frantically trying to be the first to score and break the tie. It was obvious that the talent on both sides of the field was evenly matched as, like the previous week's game, neither team scored. This resulted in using penalty kicks to determine who would remain in the BPFL semi-professional league. Each team chose five kickers, knowing that the most goals scored would determine the champion. The battle ensued with San Pedro Turquoise goals being scored by Landy Pinelo, Jose Lara, Kevin Pelayo and Sanja Pitts. When one of the Orange Walk teammates failed to score, thanks to the effort of the island team's sub-goalkeeper Elroy Rowley, every fan appeared to hold their breath. Screams of joy were exhaled in the next minute though, as San Pedro's Bonnie Gentle launched the final, tie-breaking point into the net. Sprinting away with a smile as big as their victory, he led the San Pedro Turquoise around the side of the field, where the winning players eventually fell into a cheering pile of joy!
Compliments must be given to both teams for their sportsmanlike conduct during these final weeks. Unlike the behavior of some teams reported during the Regent Challenge Cup finals, these teams uttered no harsh words and no obscene or inappropriate gestures were observed. Both teams' players are to be applauded for their display of noble manners and the fine example they set for their peers.
Through this medium the San Pedro Turquoise would like to thank the following sponsors: Victoria House, Graniel's Cabinet Shop, Southwind Properties, Varela's Construction, San Pedro Town Council, Nancy's Store, Paradise Hotel, Blue Water Grill, Lourdes Store, E&L Butane, San Pedro Sports Council, Rock's, Belize Bank, Captain Shark's, Coral Cable Vision, Belizean Shores, Fido's Fun Sports, Elvia Staines, Reef Restaurant, Tanisha Tours, Rick Sutherland, Ambergris Caye Planning Committee, Ambergris Divers, La Popular Bakery, Isidoro and Susan Garcia, Tropic Air, Milo's Ice, Belize Rural South and The San Pedro Sun. A grand raffle for a brand new bicycle was awarded as a gesture of appreciation for the fans at Sunday's match. A big "Thank You" goes out to all the fans for their support of the Turquoise this season.
Playing for San Pedro Turquoise during this BPFL quadrangular were: Richard McKoy, Elroy Rowley, Bonnie Gentle, Clive Young, Luis Uribio, Harvin Velasquez, Pablo Borges, Kent Gabourel, Orlando Pinelo, Jairo Sandoval, Alberto Quintanilla, Jarbi Alvarez, Jason Sutherland, Estevan Perez, Giovanni Gonzalez, Sanja Pitts, Jose Lara, Peter Mangar, Edon Rowley, Ruben Ferreira, Edwardo Perez, Vallan Syms, Robert Cunningham, Shane Moody, Wayne Wiltshire and Kevin Pelayo.
Congratulations and best of luck next season to the San Pedro Turquoise football team!