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By Lesroy W. Williams

Observer Reporter

(Warner Park, SKB)—A huge and hopeful crowd turned out at Warner Park to witness the much-anticipated game between Belize and St.Kitts and Nevis in the Concacaf Qualifier for FIFA World Cup, set for South Africa in 2010.

St. Kitts and Nevis, reeling from a 3-1 defeat against Guatemala on Feb. 6, had hoped to redeem themselves on the night of March 26.

Such redemption was unrealized.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw, dashing any hopes left of the Sugar Boys advancing to the next round against Mexico.

To advance, the Sugar Boys needed at least two clear goals.

The Belizean team, on the other hand, was overjoyed and found it quite difficult to contain themselves. They had every reason to be given their history. Belize only founded a football association in 1980 and their past performances in FIFA World Cup qualifying gave little reason for any kind of enthusiasm among football lovers in Belize. That was in the past.

Belize is beginning to show much promise and Belizeans are quite proud of their “Whipping Boys” as they are dubbed in Central America.

According to the FIFA World Rankings, Belize ranks 176th in the world, but, this does little justice to a team working under limited conditions.

At half time, Belize led St.Kitts and Nevis 1-0, with Elroy Smith # 8, scoring in the 41st minute. With time running out in the second half, a desperate and shaky St.Kitts and Nevis managed to get a goal in the 84th minute from Orlando Mitcham #15. It was not enough and they knew it.

Head coach for the Belize team, Ken Greer said, “The first game in Guatemala they underestimated us because of the FIFA world rankings.”

However, Alexis Morris, coach of the St. Kitts and Nevis team said, “Definitely not, we didn’t underestimate Belize.”

Mr. Morris claimed that they did prepare well after their defeat in Guatemala but didn’t do the little things well at Warner Park.

As Belize moves on to play Mexico later this year, they know the challenge ahead but they know that for the first time they have advanced past the first round.

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