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November 07
10:29 2018
THE REPORTER: News Staff, -

Over the weekend the Belize Jaguars U-20 selection registered their first victory against Saint Maarten in the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship which is currently underway in Bradenton, Florida.

On November 1st Belize lost her first match against Cuba with a 6-1 score. On November 3rd, they played against Antigua and lost 1-0 and on November 3rd the team made history by beating out Saint Maarten with a 4-2 score. Sometime this week the Jaguars are set to play Honduras and the Dominican Republic before returning home.

While losing two of the games have disqualified the team from advancing to the 2019 U-20 World Cup Finals, the win is said to have boosted the team’s spirits and upon their return, the coaches will be reviewing their strategies, strengths and weaknesses for future tournaments.

Cruz Gamez from the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) told the Reporter that “they have been motivated with that win. They do understand that they are performing in a way that the coaches would have wanted them to perform. Unfortunately, the score doesn’t reflect that. However, seeing the game we saw constant possession of the ball and the statistics show that. They are positive that they have been doing the right things. Maybe we have been missing our opportunities and technically we might have made some mistakes.”

Gamez told the Reporter that the U-20 selection has been engaged in constant weekend practices since January. “They have been trained to play more possession football which entails more organized tactical football from the back to the front. What we are used to playing here in Belize is that the keeper kicks the ball to the defense who then kicks it to the forward and by-passes the middle,” he explained.

In an interview with the Reporter, FFB’s Vice-President Marlon Kuylen also explained that the new strategy was recently implemented and while changes are not expected to take place overnight the teams at FFB are getting extensive training and are responding very well to them.

Kuylen also explained that the Federation is planning more tournaments between the various teams so that they have enough practice. “The Federation is also moving away from volunteers and is now focusing on hiring qualified persons and placing them in key positions,” Kuylen said.

The team which includes 18 players and four technical staff members departed Belize last Tuesday and will be returning on November 10th. “They were handpicked as the best from their respective teams. They will be returning to their clubs, and the federation will continue to call them up for training so that they can always be prepared,” Gamez told the Reporter.
Of the 34 participating teams from the Caribbean, Central American and North American countries the competition will determine the four CONCACAF teams that will participate at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.

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