Posted: Tuesday, March 2, 2021. 9:50 am CST.
By Ruben Morales, Belize City: Belize will be playing its first home game of the 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifiers in the Dominican Republic this month, but the second home game in June might just be held here in Belize in June.
“We have to play this first home game out of Belize because of the Covid-19 government restrictions on contact sports,” National Team Coach Dale Pelayo said to Belize Breaking News, “but we hope that by June we can play against St. Lucia here. No country has wanted to withdraw from the World Cup Qualifiers, and neither do we. We’re going to give it our best shot.”
The FFB had to take the difficult decision of playing their first home game which is against the Turks and Caicos Islands at the Pan American Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on March 30, 2021, because the government did not give them the permission to do play the game here.
Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat said yesterday that on the advice of his medical staff GOB did not want the risk this month.
At least, the Belize National Men’s Football Team Nation (BNMFT) will not have to make two trips out this month considering all the Covid-19 tests that have to be taken to leave and enter countries and the Covid-19 isolation measures they must adhere to. At the end of the month, the BNMFT is traveling to take on Haiti at the Stade Sylvio Cator in Port au Prince on Thursday, March 25, 2021, and from there they are flying to the Dominican Republic for the game against Turks and Caicos on Tuesday, March 30.
Belize, however, is not the only country in this situation and the Dominican Republic seems the go-to-place for teams who do not have the possibility of playing at home. When Belize plays against Haiti at 5:00 p.m. on March 30 in Haiti, the Trinidad’s Soca Warriors will be playing their first home game of the WC Qualifiers against Guyana in Santo Domingo. Trinidad might be a bit worst than our team as visitors must quarantine for two weeks and neither FIFA nor Guyana would have any of that.
Barbados is also playing their first home game of the WC Qualifiers on March 30 at Santo Domingo, albeit at a different stadium.
With Belize starting its Covid-19 vaccination program countrywide, Chebat said teachers will be vaccinated and that schools may reopen their doors after Easter, and that school sports might be activated. That should also include other sports, which means that by June when the second set of WC Qualifiers get underway, Belize might be able to play its second home game against St. Lucia at the FFB Field in Belmopan on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Before that, Belize travels to Nicaragua to play their third game in the WC Qualifiers on Friday, June 4, 2021, in Managua.
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