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Belize Men’s National Team’s Mike Salazar: We as players have always upheld our end of the contract  … We are simply asking for the same in return

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2024. 10:53 am CST.

Nana-Yaw Mensah, Mike Salazar, Deshawon Nembhard say they are taking a stance for ‘current and future’ Belize Men’s National Team players

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) said they will take disciplinary action against Mike Salazar, Nana-Yaw Mensah, and Deshawon Nembhard, who withdrew from the Belize Men’s National Team before the game against Nicaragua, for “Non-compliance of Contractual obligations’, but the players say that ‘We as players have always upheld our end of the contract despite the circumstances we face repeatedly; We are simply asking for the same in return from the federation.”

“This is not just a stand for those who did not play last night but all current and future players who put on that jersey !!” a statement posted on Sunday on social media by Salazar and Nembhard said.

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The FFB said the players “chose not participate” in Friday’s World Cup qualifying match against Nicaragua “just four hours before kickoff, significantly impacting the team’s performance in tonights [sic] match.”

The FFB said the players had been training with the BMNT for over a week and that the FFB had “invested significantly in ensuring optimal conditions for the team and remaining players rallied to make the necessary adjustments and remained focused on delivering their best performance for Belize.”

While Belize went on to lose 4-0, the FFB has received a rather harsh backlash by fans and ex-BMNT players on social media who have criticized them for the BMNT’s failure to deliver positive results under present coach Spaniard David Pérez. Many fans expressed their belief that Belize would still have lost similarly had the three players competed. Others, however, said that if they were not satisfied, they should have taken action earlier.

“While it was an extremely difficult decision, we felt it necessary to take a stance against the continued mistreatment we have received from the Football Federation of Belize,” the players’ statement said.

“On several occasions over the years, there has been unprofessional communication, lack of organization and poor conditions and accommodations. 

“We have sat down with the FFB multiple times to express our concerns and discuss possible solutions to move forward. However, at this time, nothing has been done to remedy the situation.”

The players apologized to the football family and pledged to continue defending the Belize colours, but said their stand isn’t only for themselves but also for their teammates and future BMNT players who deserve better treatment from the FFB.

“Our sincerest apologies to our teammates, coaches, staff, family, friends, and fans for not participating in last night’s match. It is an honor every time we put on the jersey and have the opportunity to represent our country,” the players said.

“We take pride and want to continue to grow the game in Belize to help us compete at every level. This is not just a stand for those who did not play last night, but all current and future players who put on the jersey. Unfortunately, we do not feel it fair or responsible to continue to be asked to play under such conditions and lack of professionalism. 

“We as players have always upheld our end of the contract despite the circumstances we face repeatedly; We are simply asking for the same in return from the federation so we have the opportunity to compete and represent Belize at the highest  level. Because of the current state of the actions being taken against us, we will not be able to give specific details at this  time, however, when the time is right, we will provide further insight.”

At the regional level, recently Jamaican National Team’s Leon Bailey, who plays for British Premier League’s Aston Villa, said he was taking a break from the Jamaica National Team due to the lack of professionalism of the Jamaica Football Federation.

 

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