Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2022. 11:17 am CST.
Photo Credit: Progresso FC
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Once Belize’s top stadium, the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk is once again hosting Premier League of Belize (PLB) games. That’s because Progresso FC, who just joined the Premier League of Belize, have decided to play their games there.
Of late, the Louisiana Football Field has been the preferred field in Orange Walk for school, junior, friendly, and even First Division games. In fact, that’s where the NBB Amateur Interdistrict Competition games were played.
But now that PLB has restarted and Orange Walk has a club in it, Progresso FC have opted to return to the field that had been left on the wayside for way too long.
The People’s Stadium’s pitch, according to PLB sources, is better than the Louisiana field. But to move to the People’s Stadium, which is more centric, the National Sports Council had to make repairs to the locker rooms, the field fence, and bleachers.
“Repairs had to be done to the People’s Stadium followed by an inspection by the Referees’ Department for compliance with the pitch and everything else before approval was given by the PLB,” said the PLB General Manager Wilhelm Miguel, who played there himself with Milpros, one of Belize’s first clubs to play internationally officially along with Verdes.
And as luck would have it, Progresso are entertaining Belize’s oldest clubs in their first matches there. They already played their first PLB game there against Belize’s oldest club National champs Verdes this past weekend. And this coming Sunday, they face Belize’s second oldest club Wagiya. So, if you’re into supporting Progresso, or simply enjoying a football game at one of Belize historic fields, make it to the People’s Stadium on Sunday.
If you’re old enough, you might remember the glory days of the People’s Stadium which was the host field for teams like the Pride of Orange Walk Juventus and teams that came before like Dills and Velvets; teams that played against the likes of Verdes and Wagiya there.
“Joe West, Woodrow’s dad, and Elvis ‘Cricket Crawford, (two of Belize’s best footballers of yesteryear) we had a discussion the other day and it did come up that the People’s Stadium was the number one official stadium where international games were played,” said Miguel.
And if you’re a little older you’ll remember that the Belize Men’s National Team played their first official match under the banner of the Belize National Football Association (which later changed its name to the Football Federation of Belize) at the People’s Stadium, unfortunately a 0-2 loss to Canada on December 8, 1983.
“And the pitch is still in good condition,” said Miguel. “It just needs a little bit more maintenance and upkeep.”
For now, only day games will be played there as better lights are needed for night games.
“The lights definitely would need to change to the specifications that FIFA requires for night games, but day games obviously can be played there, and they can expand on the bleachers because there is enough space to do so,” Miguel said.
And on Sunday, one of Belize’s and Juventus’ best goalkeepers ever, Charlie Slusher, will be there on the sideline coaching Progresso FC.
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