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Minister of Sports Rodwell Ferguson on Belize National Women’s Football Team: ‘Led like a sheep to be slaughtered’; says GOB, private sector have to invest in development of sports

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Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2022. 9:55 am CST.

By Ruben Morales Iglesias: Finally, a Belize Minister of Sports recognizes publicly that for Belize’s sports to improve considerably so that we are competitive in the region, there’s got to be more support and the government and private sector have to invest considerably in the development not only of the athletes, but also in the infrastructure.

“As the new Minister of Sports, I will have to change the narrative,” wrote Rodwell Ferguson on Facebook from El Salvador where he was accompanying the Belize Women’s National Football Team (BWNT) to El Salvador and experienced with them what it feels like to be defeated 8-0.

The Belize team fell 6-0 last Wednesday to El Salvador and then on Sunday, with Ferguson in attendance, the BWNT were pounded 8-0 by Panama in the 2023 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in San Salvador.

Well, Ferguson felt the pain, but he also saw the development and the investment in sports in El Salvador.

You see, it’s not the same when we’re distanced from these sad events, when we only see the score but don’t feel pain and struggles our athletes must live with and the feeling of hopelessness that smashes you when you know you can do better but the cards are all stacked against you.

“They were led like a sheep to be slaughtered.,” said Ferguson. “Their optimism before the game was high. Traveling to El Salvador to do my own assessment, it is an embarrassment what the female team went through today. The support of the country is not there.”

“We will be the first to criticize,” he added.

Then he went on to say that despite the Football Federation of Belize getting considerable funding from FIFA, (something the FFB is always criticized for here at home) it’s not enough.

“The FFB have a budget of 4 to 5 million to promote and improve football at all levels,” he said.

“It takes more than that, if we want to excel.”

Ferguson said when he saw the infrastructure development in El Salvador, he felt embarrassed.

“You know it’s an embarrassment for all of us. When I see the infrastructure in sports in El Salvador, it’s amazing. I believe the development includes the Government and the private sector.”

For Belize to be competitive the status quo must change, said the Sports Minister, as he called on the Government and the private sector to step up.

“As the new Minister of Sports, I will have to change the narrative. The entire nation have to be involved. I am calling on my colleagues in Government, private sector, and all affiliate bodies that are involved with each discipline.”

“We are backward when it comes to infrastructure. Here in El Salvador, there is a hotel of 74 rooms just to host athletes, to reduce the cost of their stay.”

Ferguson said he felt for the BWNT after the game and promised to kick start the change.

“I had to sympathize with the female athletes today after their 8-nil defeat. As the Minister of Sports, I will start to engage my colleagues in Government, the business community, the diaspora, and the World at large by seeking funds. Hold your heads high ladies.”

Now, let’s hope it’s not just talk.

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