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"Boys from Belize take on Canadian 'millionaires'"


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Boys from Belize down tools to take on Canadian soccer ``millionaires''



664 words

8 June 2004


The Canadian Press


© 2004 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Their coach is in the grocery business. So is their star striker, who leads all soccer players in the country with his $685 weekly salary. And that's just four months a year.

The boys from Belize have put their day jobs on hold to take on Canada in a pair of World Cup qualifying games June 13 and 16 in Kingston, Ont.

Belize coach Anthony Adderley, a grocer by trade, holds the Canadians in high regard.

``We do know that Canada, they're millionaires, they're professionals, they're skilful, they're intelligent,'' Adderley said from his Belize home. ``We give them the best of everything. But they're humans.''

More human than millionaire probably, although some Canadian players are worth a million on the transfer market and boast Mercedes rides.

Sandwiched between Papua New Guinea and Guyana, Belize is currently ranked 179th out of the 204 countries on FIFA's list. Canada is 93rd, in itself hardly something to write home about.

But the gap between the countries in soccer is still vast. The Canadians play professionally, the Belizeans are part-timers.

The odds may be against Belize but Adderley says a win is possible.

``And we play the game to win the game,'' he said.

Adderley has been holding public tryouts the last few weeks to choose his team.

The country has an eight-team semi-pro league whose season lasts four months. Players get paid per game, out of gate receipts. But most of the players take part in an amateur league.

Belize has some players overseas but does not have the resources to use them.

``We are unable to reach them and bring them home and make them as comfortable as they have become accustomed,'' Adderley said.

Veteran midfielder-striker Norman Tilliman, who has past international club experience in Honduras, is Belize's biggest name in soccer.

``He's our best player, he's our go-to guy, so to speak. He's a winner,'' said Adderley.

He also runs a small grocery store in Belize City.

On the football field, he makes about 1,000 Belize dollars ($685 Cdn) a week during the season.

``But Tilliman is a special person, he makes a lot more than us,'' Adderley said.

Some players work in the government, others are students or self-employed.

Bordering the Caribbean between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize's population of 266,440 (as of July 2003) is a little bigger than Saskatoon.

The country covers about 23,000 square kilometres, less than half the size of Nova Scotia.

``We live a simple life here in Belize,'' said Adderley, who played soccer at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England before quitting the sport at 24.

Belize was supposed to host the July 16 game but asked the Canadian Soccer Association whether it could play both games away. Adderley declined to go into details, saying his area of expertise was on the field not off it.

But it appears the request was made because of internal politics _ the country's soccer administration has had some rough times over the last 10 years _ and because of some stadium problems in Belize.

Not surprisingly, the CSA was happy to oblige, after checking with FIFA and CONCACAF, which governs North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The Belizeans benefit in that the CSA is meeting all their travel and accommodation costs. Usually the home side only provides training facilities.

``It's unfortunate we have to play our home game in Canada. That's very unfortunate, not only for the players but for the country,'' Adderley said.

``But that's the challenge this team has to face and must rise above.''

Women's softball is big in Belize _ the national team once upset the U.S. and a Belize team just won the Central American club championship _ and so is cricket.

``We're very athletic,'' said Adderley.

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quote:Originally posted by Massive Attack

Maybe we helped pay for their accomodations as part of the deal of the 2nd leg being played in Canada. Belize probably could have asked for the game to be played in a neutral country.

Similiar set-up we had with Cuba (was that 97 ?) a few years back in Edmonton. A worthwhile investment considering Canada takes home two gates. A great deal for Canada all the way around.

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Guest Dave

Good investment, assuming we win. Never assume anything in CONCACAF. Especially with Batres as referee (the Carey Fraser of international soccer).

Seriously guys, I agree that we SHOULD win. But never, never underestimate the potential for things to go terribly wrong. These little countries always seem to have one or two guys with speed and a scoring touch. All it takes is a missed offside call and we are down 1-0. If they are divers, there is a very good chance Batres will award them a penalty or two. I am confident, but concerned as well.

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quote:Sandwiched between Papua New Guinea and Guyana, Belize is currently ranked 179th out of the 204 countries on FIFA's list.

quote:Bordering the Caribbean between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize's population of 266,440 (as of July 2003) is a little bigger than Saskatoon.

Someone probably does not have a history of A's in Geography. Unless they were allowed to pick two choices in multiple choice exams at their school. :D I actually didn't know that there were any countries sandwiched between South Asian Papua New Guinea and South American Guyana. Learn something new everyday!

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Boys from Belize down tools to take on Canadian soccer ``millionaires''

Nice piece, but everyone in the third world thinks we're all millionaires.

The guy at McDonald's makes more than some of these Belizean players, but

there's no way that cost of living is covered either. But I know what the

writer meant to say or "inspire".

Nice that our "millionaire" CSA picks up the tab for our guests. Classy move.

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