William Ysaguirre Freelance Reporter
The girls of Delille Academy will represent Belize at the upcoming Central American Junior Scholastic Games (CODICADER) in Guatemala in September, after winning the National Football Championship organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA).
Delille Academy hosted the tournament sponsored by Bowen & Bowen Ltd and Crystal Water at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga on Friday and Saturday, February 14-15.
The Delille Academy girls out gunned the Northern regional champions, the girls of Orange Walk Technical High School, 3-2 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation time and overtime. National team strikers Shayama Quiniah Caliz and Naomi Gamboa led the Delille offensive supported by Lesyan Lucas, Sherice Gladden, Orel Gillett and Elida Weine at midfield.
Delille won a free kick, and Shayama Caliz scored first for Delille to lead 1-0 up to intermission
Caliz and Gamboa’s national team mates, Gisel Baeza and Noriely Terry, led the Orange Walk counterattack, and when the Delille defenders blundered into a hand ball infraction, the referee ruled penalty, which Noriely Terry converted to equalize 1-1 in regulation time. With both sides unable to gain an advantage, the game went into overtime and penalties.
Gisel Baeza switched places with the goalkeeper for the shootout, but Caliz and Gamboa converted with practised ease. Naomi Gamboa also took over from Christy Richie in goal, but Baeza and Terry converted to tie the score 2-2. Delille’s third try missed, but Orange Walk’s third kicker also sent her try over the crossbar. Orel Gillett converted Delille’s fourth try to lead 3-2, and Baeza stopped Delille’s fifth try. Orange Walk missed ITS next two tries and Delille went on to win the championship.
Gisel Baeza had a blast scoring a hat trick plus one in the Orange Walk girls’ 5-0 victory over the Central Division champions, the girls of Gwen Lizarraga High School, in the opening game of the tournament on Friday afternoon. Noriely Terry scored a fifth goal.
The Delille girls similarly bombed the Western regional champions, the girls of St. Ignatius High School from Santa Elena, in the second game Friday evening. Lesyan Lucas advancing on the right flank set table perfectly for Shayama Caliz with a pass across the front of the goal. Caliz promptly buried it in the back of the net, and Delille led 1-0 at intermission.
Caliz got another chance to increase the lead in the second half, but her shot hit the crossbar. Gamboa made no such mistake with a slice from the right flank to the left corner: 2-0. Caliz lobbed the ball over three defenders as she executed a free kick to make it 3-0.
St. Ignatius High School girls won the consolation game for third place 2-1 over the Gwen Liz girls on Saturday morning. Jenelle Smith scored first on Gwen Liz’s goalkeeper, Roslyn Smith to give St Ignatius a 1-0 lead up to intermission.
The Gwen Liz girls won a penalty in the second half, but Tyra Moriear’s try hit the crossbar. The St. Ignatius goalkeeper recovered the ball but then blundered into giving up an indirect kick, by putting the ball down. Vivica Young blasted the ball through the wall of defenders to equalize 1-1 in regulation time. Neither side scored in the first five minutes of overtime period, but Jenelle Smith scored a second winning goal in the second overtime period.
The Delille Academy principal presented the championship, second and third placed team trophies to the team captains, and individual medals to the players. The President of the Football Federation of Belize, Ruperto Vicente, was on hand to present the Most Valuable Player award. to Shayama Caliz.