The upgrade came on the heels of Belize’s scoreless draw with the “Soca Warriors” of Trinidad & Tobago in the friendly football match played at the FIFA Goal Project Stadium beside the Football Federation of Belize Institute in Belmopan last Saturday night, March 23, immediately after Bandfest.
Deon Macaulay, the author of Belize’s winning goal in our 2-1 victory over Nicaragua at Copa Centroamericana in Costa Rica in January, led the Belize offensive, along with the top striker of the Premier League of Belize last season, Danny Jimenez of Police United. Jimenez had been unable to make it to Costa Rica, because he was in the Police Academy’s three-month boot camp.
Jimenez was a good fit with Trevor “Burger” Lennon, the author of Belize’s “golazo” against Nicaragua at Copa Centroamericana, as Lennon, Danny and Richard “Cheety” Jimenez had been team mates at Mopan Tech in 2004.
They and Macaulay, Tyrone Pandy, Dalton Eiley and Ian Gaynair were all on Belize’s under-23 selection that won 2-0 over El Salvador at the Carl Ramos Stadium in 2006.
Harrison “Kafu” Roches was home from Honduras to lead the Belize attacks ,supported by Evan Mariano and Floyd Jones on the wings and Everald Trapp at midfield. Eiley, Gaynair, Pandy and Lennon held down the defense.
The visitors brought all their international stars; and Kenwyne Jones and Cornell Glen led their offensive ,supported by team captain Densill Theobald, Christopher Berchall and Keon Daniel at midfield, but goalkeeper Woodrow West proved up to the challenge.
Evan Mariano ran into trouble with Theobald when he tried runs up the sideline and Macaulay and Roches had trouble getting past the visitors’ defense secured by Carlyle Mitchell and Joevin Jones. Daniel Jimenez did get three shots at the goal but the visitors’ goalkeeper Cleon John was also handling well.
Andres Makin replaced Floyd Jones in the second half, Harrison Tasher took over from Evan Mariano and Devon Makin replaced Danny Jimenez. Lennox “Criminal” Castillo replaced Macaulay in the final minutes of play.
The visitors also introduced Marcus Joseph, Jason Marcano, Darren Mitchell, Devon Jorsling and Keyon Edwards in the second half. Jorsling got ejected in the 75th minute when he lost his cool after a hard tackle by Tyrone Pandy. The referee played even-stevens and also ejected Pandy.
FFB president Ruperto Vicente says Belize will play many more such friendlies in the coming months in preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA in July, both for the practice and to raise funds to finance the Belize team’s travel to the U.S.