Posted: Saturday, January 29, 2022. 2:21 p.m. CST.
Photo credit: FFB
By Ruben Morales Iglesias: The Belize Men’s National Football Team (BMNT) plays two friendly football matches against Nicaragua this evening and Tuesday, February 1.
But unable to book a flight to Managua, the BMNT struggled in a 40-hour, two-day trip by road and air.
Why not just give up the games like Guatemala did? Why manhandle when you consider that to come back, it’s still a two-day trip of 40 hours? Just for two friendlies?
Because they need to play and be competitive, plus they had already committed to doing so, says national team coach David Pérez Asensio and Belize Football Federation executive member Marlon Kuylen.
“It’s a tiring trip because getting to Nicaragua is complicated. We had to spend the night in El Salvador, then we had to travel by bus to Nicaragua, but we have to play,” Pérez said.
“The national team can’t stay without playing and competing for that long because the CONCACAF Nations League is in June, and we had to get the players together and play against a rival that we can compete well against.”
To get to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, the BMNT left Belmopan at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, traveling by road to Santa Elena, Peten. From there they flew to Guatemala City and then to San Salvador, where they spent the night on Wednesday. Thursday morning, the BMNT took a bus, crossed Honduras, and arrived in Managua after 10 p.m.
Guatemala was going to participate in a triangle against Belize and Nicaragua in Managua, but withdrew after being unable to book a flight to Nicaragua. Mexican coach Luis Fernando Tena reportedly did not want the team to travel by road, saying it would be too tiring for the players.
“If the Mexican coach of the Guatemalan national team didn’t want to travel, I understand because it’s a tiring trip, but they had more opportunities,” Pérez said. “They played in September. They also played recently. So they had more opportunities to compete.
Pérez also said that he is aware that other Central American football federations do not want to play their national teams against Belize, so we must take advantage of the opportunities available to us.
“Central American national teams who are a bit stronger don’t want to play Belize because they see them as an ‘inferior’ national team, but our goal is for that to change and for them to see us as a national team. who will challenge them and meet them head-on,” he said.
Marlon Kuylen, executive member of the FFB, agreed that the FFB should take advantage of the breaks for its national teams, but added that the FFB should also respect its commitment to the Nicaraguan Football Federation (FENIFUT).
“We (the FFB) had already accepted the invitation of Nicaragua, which in turn had to write to FIFA to accept this match as an official friendly. Seeing that FIFA responded positively, we were forced to travel,” Kuylen said.
Both matches against the Nicaragua national team are in preparation for the CONCACAF Nations League in June. Pérez said the idea was for BMNT to play a few more games during the FIFA window in March, although he doesn’t yet know who will play against BMNT.
But he says BMNT must play, even if it’s against clubs. But compete, they must.
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