FFB discusses way forward after coach calls it quits

Football president Ruperto Vicente says his federation will now have to “move on” from Costa Rica’s Leroy Sherrier Lewis. Lewis was lauded for his guiding of the national team to its best ever regional performance. News broke yesterday that Lewis was hastily departing Belize and his post as national team head coach, stopping only for a final conversation with Vicente at the local bus terminal. The move comes as the team prepares for its maiden appearance in July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States, the top regional tournament. The Football Federation of Belize held a press conference today where President Vicente related what Sherrier Lewis told him about his personal problems.

Ruperto Vicente – FFB President;   
vlcsnap-2013-03-07-20h24m48s40I spoke with him and I asked him what was his intention and he said Mr. Vicente, I am going back home. So I asked him the reason for returning home and he said the matter of the burning of the apartment which we had placed him is still lingering on his mind and that he cannot sleep at night because that is bothering him. Secondly, he said that he needs someone to speak with all the time and so he misses his wife and he needed his wife to be with him. He said “Mr. Vicente, if I decide to return, then I will ask my wife to come along with me.

Later, President Vicente read a letter Lewis left behind in which he expanded on his professional disagreements with the national team structure.

Ruperto Vicente – FFB President;
He said that he had taken the decision not to continue with the national team, because at this time he is not motivated and he does not feel the same motivation he had in the month of October and he could not continue his duties as the national coach.  

But Lewis was walking out even as the final touches were being put on his contract to continue coaching the team.

Ruperto Vicente – FFB President;
Certainly not, we had come to an agreement to the content of the coach’s contract. We had agreed to his salary and the condition he had set that was to be included in his contract. We had agree that the coach would be paid $3,000 USD per month and we would also pay his rent and we would also pay his food bill. So money was not the problem. There was no problem there. In fact, up to Tuesday, the coach was a very happy man.   

Though disappointed, the Federation looks forward with Belizean Charlie Slusher, former star goalkeeper, in the hot seat now.

Ruperto Vicente – FFB President;
The coach has exited and I must accept his exit at this point and so today I inform you that we will continue the process of our national program and our national team. We are going to continue with it. We are going to continue our national team program for the next couple weeks with our national coaches, Belizean coaches. We are going to keep Mr. Charlie Slusher as our coach, assisted by Mr. Julio Santos and Mr. Kent Gabriel.

Sherrier, in his letter addressed to FFB president Ruperto Vicente, dated Tuesday, March 5th, makes it absolutely clear that he would not accept any other offers to coach elsewhere out of respect for Belize. According to the coach’s letter, certain members of the national selection committee “are there just for the ride and who are actually putting up obstacles to the president’s development plans.” Lewis says he “doesn’t possess the strength or the motivation to continue to deal with these distractions.” It is our understanding that Belize’s national team players were going to share the money the FFB would have received by virtue of their participation and fourth place finish in the recently concluded UNCAF Copa Centroamericana tournament. In response to a question about the funds, Vicente dropped a bombshell.

Ruperto Vicente – FFB President;
The price money that we were to received had been signed over through a debt made by the pass administration and so that price money, we do not have.

About the Author