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bz_team2By now the news has spread throughout the country and certainly to the hallowed halls of Belmopan and the Ministry of Sports - our Belizean boys, acknowledged by the Prime Minister or not, made us proud in Trinidad as they bested the Montserrat team 5-2 in the FIFA World Cup qualifier. Its an important game for the nation - the first game on the road to Brazil in 2014 and Senior Vice President of the FFB Bernaldino Pech was justifiably proud of our national team.

Bernaldino Pech Sr. Vice President, FFB

“It was a historic win for our country and I agree with you it is the Belize National Team if we go and check FIFA website it does not say Chimilio 11 versus Montserrat it says Belize they represent us out there, they represent the aspiration of each and everyone.”

But it was a bittersweet victory on one level, as the national teams quest to play in the qualifier was hampered by active government interference and intervention.

Bernaldino Pech Sr. Vice President, FFB

“What saddens me was the fact that because of government interference many of our national team players were unable to get a U.S visa and so we had to send that group of players and technical staff, a delegation of about ten or twelve individuals to go through Central America. They left on Sunday, they had to go by bus to Guatemala and from Guatemala fly over to Panama and then on to Trinidad. Then the remaining players, those who had U.S. visas went through Miami on Monday but it was really sad not to be able to send them fan fair but I must say they were very committed to have our players out going to represent our country and for fear of what interference they might have been and not with their national team colours it was really sad, but I must say they were very committed, in fact this commitment is not now they were committed from early May when we started from our training sessions.”

According to Pech, it is incredible that the Government would go to these lengths to not only stop our national team from playing, but to sabotage the sport of football.

pechBernaldino Pech Sr. Vice President, FFB

“This is something that we have to resolve one way or the other because FIFA has sent an ultimatum by the end of this month for this issue to be resolve, basically telling government to back off and it is rather strange that a government instead of helping you are hindering, instead of supporting you are destroying. What government should be doing is to support especially when it doesn’t cost the government a penny. These are monies that do not come from tax payers, these are additional monies, you don’t look at give horse in the mouth, you support, you help and don’t try to destroy, it is an issue that we have to resolve and we hope that the minister and the government would see fit to sit down with us and have discussion and dialogue and we will be prepared if the minister calls us today we are prepared to go and meet with him and try to resolve this conflict in an amicable solution because our Belizean public deserve no less and I think it is very important that as Belizeans , we also stand up, if there are injustices call your representative, tell them you are displeased. I know we have football fans in every household in this country and we want to support our boys and once we finish with this particular series, we will then move into another phase of the eliminations and I also would like to point out that this is the first time in eleven years that we get to play a world cup qualifying game in Belize and there are some that have never seen our national team play a world cup qualifier.”

But all that makes no difference, as far as Pech is concerned. The team fielded by the FFB is the Belize National Team and thats the end of the story.

Bernaldino Pech Sr. Vice President, FFB

“The only organization that can represent Belize in football is the Football Federation of Belize. There is no other group that can go out there and purport to represent Belize is only the Football Federation of Belize because we are the only ones that have the sanction of FIFA, so if the minister would send a group of boys out there then that would require to be called the Saldivar eleven, because they would not be representing Belize in an official capacity. You might be called Belize but not in an official capacity.”

The home game is scheduled for Sunday in Belmopan, and this government is known for its very bull-headed and aggressive intimidation tactics. So is the FFB prepared for the worst?

Bernadino Pech Sr. Vice President, FFB

“This is our turf as well, this is my turf, this is your turf we are Belizeans. On what grounds can they stop a game of this nature? What grounds do they have? In fact at this very moment we are seeking an injunction against the government of Belize on the action because they say we have not registered. We are saying we have registered according to the sports act, we have registered they just haven’t accepted our papers yet, so that’s a matter for the court and I don’t think the court would take kindly to seeing anything being done in the interim, so I really can’t see unless it is something stage, it is something that maybe they come to my house and stage something there with something illegal that’s the only way I can see it that they can stop individuals, but I can see they can stop the game from going on and also I think they realize that Belizean public is hungry for football and they want to support our boys I could feel the feeling yesterday as people were hearing the reports all across this country on how the game was progressing. There was a sense of euphoria and people want this, people want something to be proud about amongst all the negative things that are happening in our country, in the bus situation you name it is happening, people need a release valve and football in particular can provide that and so once again I do invite the general public to come out there and be Belizeans, we are Belizeans as the songs says I am Belize, you are Belize, we all are Belizeans, so come out and support our heroes.”

The game kicks off at 4:00pm on Sunday at the FFB field in Belmopan. Be sure to get your tickets early at Shell One Stop in Orange Walk Town because, according to Pech, none will be available at the venue. In a late breaking addition to that story, CTV-3 has just received reliable reports that the Football Federation of Belize has been denied Police Officers to provide security at the game in Belmopan on Sunday. Like weve said before, the Government of Belize is going to great lengths to crush the FFB. For context, we note something which was pointed out in the previous story GOB has not provided one cent to the FFB for the promotion of football.

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