Because I’m not a football enthusiast, I was ambivalent about the Belizean National Football Team, the Jaguars playing in the Gold Cup tournament in the United States.
All the drama prior to the team’s departure did more to dampen my enthusiasm. But a Belizean I am and also a sports enthusiast, so it was only a matter of time before I was caught up in the euphoria and the prospect of our men winning the cup!
To watch our young men play their hearts out while being no match physically or strategically for the opponent teams is heart wrenching and downright frustrating.
There is no good excuse for this. As the minutes ran out I remember the demeanor of the team prior their departure from Belize. No one looked happy.
The bitter irony of BTL hosting a send off ceremony hit me like a sucker punch between the eyes.
The very company for which the Barrow administration has taken $70 million of tax payer dollars is trying to capitalize on our men. BTL DID NOT TRY TO MATCH CONTRIBUTIONS TO MEET THE AMOUNT NEEDED BY OUR TEAM – NO THEY CAME TO POSTURE!
In spite of all the difficulties the team faced, they left, perhaps hearts sunken. On the field they displayed national pride and did their best but the demons that haunted them prior to leaving Belize would not let them enjoy a victory. In my eyes, they are heroes – they are winners!
Although our nation’s hearts are with our heroes of the Jaguars, it won’t be enough. For once Belizeans must acknowledge the damning truth: we’ve got to invest in young people’s education and sports. Only by so doing can we expect our athletes to effectively compete against countries that do invest and do prepare their athletes.
The Jaguars have earned my respect and admiration. They are heroes…but I’ll be damned if I don’t say like it really is: what were witnessing on the fields of play in the United States is the bi-product of corruption and failure to adequately invest in the people who we say are our hopes for tomorrow. Smh……this is sad and doesn’t have to be.
By: Rhenae Nunez