Posted: Friday, October 21, 2022. 5:37 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Iris Centeno Studio
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Football Federation of Belize has called off the two games it planned for the Belize Men’s National Team (BMNT) to play against Ghanaian champions Asante Kotoko in November.
“The National Team Committee has decided to rescind its previous invitation for Asante Kotoko to play a series of friendly matches against the Belize National A team,” said the FFB in a short statement on Friday.
“At this moment the committee is finding it extremely difficult to mobilize the National A Team as the Premier League of Belize will be going into its final games of the opening season for 2022 2023 and the players for the A Team are drawn from the League.”
The Premier League of Belize (PLB) intends to finish its Opening Season by November 26 or 27, one week after the start of the World Cup and the visit by the Ghanaians champs would have complicated things.
FIFA, from what a source at the PLB told Breaking Belize News (BBN), wanted all federations worldwide to finish or pause their tournaments for the World Cup which begins on November 20. Pausing on the weekend of November 19 and 20 to make way for the two BMNT friendly matches would extend the PLB season into December. Already the PLB is grappling with playing backmatches which it had to further postpone this week due to unavailability of referees for midweek games.
The FFB had planned the two games against Asante Kotoko for November 18 at the Carl Ramos Stadium and on November 20, the very same day the World Cup is kicking off, at the FFB Stadium. In fact, it was just yesterday (Thursday), that the FFB, in a letter dated October 19, informed the PLB that it had signed an agreement to host the Ghanaian National Champions Asante Kotoko and have those two games. So it’s surprising that they are making a U-turn so fast.
“We hereby take this opportunity to give formal notice of request for a possible selection and calling up of players from the PLB clubs to represent the National team in these two games,” said the letter from the FFB General Secretary Earl Jones to PLB General Manager Wilhelm Miguel.
“Additionally it is being requested of the PLB to plan any scheduled matches around these two National Team games so that there may be no clashes with matches.”
The PLB had not even responded when the FFB announced today that it had rescinded the contract. In fact, Miguel wasn’t aware the FFB had called off the two games against Asante Kotoko whose Chief Executive Officer, Nanayaw Maponsah, on a visit here this week seemed very enthused with the idea of his club visiting Belize.
“We believe that we can help Belize through these exchanges,” said Maponsah.
“These games you cannot underestimate or quantify the enormous benefits it brings to both countries and entities. Through sports we promote tourism; we promote international relations and also development of kids. I am very particular about up-and-coming kids, how we take them off the streets through sports. Sports are also business. It is a multinational, multibillion dollar industry and we have to seize every opportunity to take our fair share of this cake. And we can only do that through collaborative efforts.”
The FFB has not said how much the visit of Asante Kotoko would have cost.
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