On the heels of the success of Belize’s youths at recent international tournaments, the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) is committing to a youth movement that it hopes will carry us to the 2022 World Cup and beyond. President Ruperto Vicente told us more at Friday’s launch of the U-16 team that will represent Belize at the Central American Championship.
“What the federation is doing is that it has now embarked on youth development; that is our mandate. We must develop young players, and what the Federation has done is that we have now prepared a program for youth development. So, that program is going to be launched on the 14th December in the southern districts. So, we have the Grassroots Program, ages 6-12, and then the Talent School for children from ages 13-14, and then we’ll have the Youth Tournament going on in each district as well and the U-17 tournaments. We are also looking at the U-20 program. So, there are going to be a lot of football being played in an effort to better develop our youths”.
We also asked about the status of Ian Mork, the coach who led Belize into the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and it appears he is no longer full-time with the Federation.
Mr. Ruperto Vicente: “Presently, the Federation is focusing on identifying a local coach for our national team, so that we keep our national team alive an d keep them in friendly games as well. So, that is going to be announced later on. But Ian Morgue or any other international coach that we are going to be looking at, will come in at a later time. We are not going to employ foreign coach as full time at the Federation, but we are looking on utilizing our local coaches”.
It means that the Federation has accelerated its timetable to have a qualified Belizean coach lead the national selection.
Mr. Ruperto Vicente: “Certainly, in fact the Olympic Committee has offered us some courses for our local coaches and so we have coaches who are going to be traveling to the United States to be trained and prepare. We already have some. We had some coaches that went to Aruba and trained by CONCACAF. Those coaches will be utilized by the Football Federation of Belize in preparing our national teams”.
The Jaguars lost all three appearances in the Gold Cup but gave particularly good accounts of themselves versus the United States and Costa Rica. And one last bit of football news, starting right away the FFB Stadium will be undergoing renovations in an effort to comply with FIFA requirements for Champions League club football of which Belize has been shut out for several years. FIFA has provided funds to re-do the pitch, bleachers and lighting as well as the office complex. Work is to begin after the U-16 tournament and conclude by the end of January.