Posted: Saturday, January 29, 2022. 2:21 pm CST.
Photo Credit: FFB
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belize Men’s National Football Team (BMNT) is playing two friendly football matches against Nicaragua tonight and on Tuesday, February 1.
But unable to book a flight all the way to Managua, the BMNT had rough it up in a 40-hour two-day trip by road and air.
Why not just drop the games as Guatemala did? Why rough it up when you consider that to get back, it’s another two-day 40-hour trip again? Just for two friendly matches?
Because they need to play and be competitive, plus they had already committed to do so, say National Team coach David Pérez Asensio and Executive Member of the Football Federation of Belize Marlon Kuylen.
“It’s a tiring trip because to get to Nicaragua is complicated. We had to stay overnight in El Salvador and then had to travel by bus to Nicaragua, but we need to play,” said Pérez.
“The National Team cannot be without playing and competing for so long because the CONCACAF Nations League is in June, and we had to get the players together and play against a rival against whom we can compete well.”
To get to Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, the BMNT left Belmopan at 6:00 am on Wednesday, travelling by road to Santa Elena, Peten. From there they flew to Guatemala City and then to San Salvador where they overnighted on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, the BMNT took a bus, crossed through Honduras, and arrived in Managua after 10:00 pm.
Guatemala was going to partake in a triangular against both Belize and Nicaragua in Managua but withdrew after being unable to book a flight to Nicaragua. Mexican coach Luis Fernando Tena reportedly didn’t want the team to travel by road saying it would be too tiring for the players.
“If the Mexican coach of the Guatemalan National Team didn’t want to travel, I understand because it’s a tiring trip, but they’ve had more opportunities,” Pérez said. “They played in September. They played recently as well. So, they’ve had more opportunities to compete.”
Pérez also said he is aware the other Central American football federations aren’t interested in playing their national teams against Belize, so we’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities we get.
“The Central American national teams that are a bit stronger don’t want to play against Belize since they consider it a “lesser” national team, but our objective is for that to change and that they see us as a national team that will challenge them and will face them head on,” he said.
FFB Executive member Marlon Kuylen agreed that the FFB has to take advantage of the breaks for its national teams but added that the FFB had to live up to its commitment to the Nicaraguan Football Federation (FENIFUT) as well.
“We (the FFB) had already accepted the invitation from Nicaragua who in turn had to write to FIFA for them to accept this match as an official friendly. Seeing that FIFA responded positively we were obligated to travel,” Kuylen said.
The two matches against the Nicaraguan National Team are in preparation for the CONCACAF Nations League in June. Pérez said the idea is for the BMNT to play a couple more games during the FIFA window in March though he doesn’t yet know who the BMNT will play.
But he says that the BMNT must play, even if it’s against clubs. But compete, they must.
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