The future of football is uncertain right now, as the Government led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister of Sports John Saldivar wages war against the FFB and other stakeholders in football weigh in from all possible angles. It’s a mess…and remember that old saying about the grass getting trampled when the elephants fight…we’ve seen proof of it, as players of all ages and lovers of the sports have become the casualties of the prolonged battle. Here in the north, the Mundialito games which have become a much loved tradition were at the point of joining the list of casualties, but that’s not going to be allowed to happen. Today we spoke to football enthusiast Menelio Gutierrez, one of the original organizers of the Mundialito for over a decade, to get some background.
Menelio Gutierrez – Mundialito Organizer
“Este problema donde se ah involucrado el gobierno con la federación ah causado chaos en todo el país y en los deportistas. Y realmente el Mundialito lo habíamos pasado a la federación para que lo niños pudieran tener ese documento que los avale como representantes de la federación y debido al problema que surgió pues queremos retomarlo nosotros. El señor Alex Palacio estar colaborando con nosotros y también tenemos otro grupo que se ah formado para el apoyo incondicional para estos pequeños. Este Mundialito tiene 15 años ya y queremos que realmente tenga potencial para que cuando estos niños tengan más experiencia pueden ser parte de cualquier selección en su categoría en el momento en que se requiera.”
And with all the chaos in the sport and with the future of the kids threatened, Gutierrez says they had no choice but to step in.
Menelio Gutierrez – Mundialito Organizer
“Nosotros queremos seguir apoyando este Mundialito por eso lo vuelvo a retomar para que la opinión pública sepa que este deporte es el deporte rey y que queremos que Belice sea parte de los torneos infantiles internacionales. Yo quiero que aquí en Belice lo que es el deporte sea igual que el resto del área de Centro América.”
John Briceno – PUP Leader
“I think that Mundialito is as important to the children as it is to the parents because this is one thing that gets the families together, the parents because whenever their kids are playing they are out there and they are cheering and sometimes they give more trouble than the children but that is the level of excitement and togetherness that Mundialito brings. We have been major supporters of Mundialito because this is where it starts football, if you want to have excellent players we need to start at the lowest level and the lowest level is Mundialito where we have these kids coming out and playing in the team starting to learn the issue of team work, learning the basics of football, learning the rules and regulations of football and also not only learning but also making new friends because then the team players become friends and then they meet other players with other teams and become friends, so I think it has been a wonderful experience , we need to do everything possible to continue to encourage and we need to ask everyone to step in and especially the private sector to come and to help these parents because a lot of these parents have to be out there selling bar b. ques., selling raffles, to raise funds for their teams, some of the representatives have been helping and for us it has been the major funder of and organizers of Mundialito. It is a wonderful thing to see these little kids with this bright smiles running up and down in that field and playing football, so I want to congratulate Menelio and he has been one of the driving forces behind Mundialito and I am confident that he is going to do an excellent job and with the help of everyone we can grow and expand and even make Mundialito more exciting for our young kids and also for the community at large.”
We’ll be sure to bring you the highlights and stats of all Mundialito games during our weekly Deportes segment with Enrique Mendez.
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