MIAMI, Florida – A year after making their CONCACAF debut, Belmopan Bandits are poised for a good run in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League.
Bandits featured in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2017 but were eliminated 5-1 on aggregate by Walter Ferretti in the Round of 16.
However, with a group of players who have been together for more than a year now, the Belize club are optimistic that their fortunes will be better in 2018.
“It’s great to be back again in this CONCACAF League tournament, the season was very competitive and this will be a good experience for us again,” said Bandits Head Coach Kent Gray in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com at the 2018 SCL draw in Miami, Florida.
“What happened last year is that we made a lot of changes in our club. This time we will not do too many changes, we will come with the same team. The players understand each other more this time,” added Gray.
On the field, Bandits are led by Honduran FW Georgie Welcome.
The former FIFA World Cup player has brought an edge to Bandits, evidenced by his hat-trick in the 5-3 win over Defence Force in the Belize Premier League final second leg.
Along with Welcome’s countrymen Rony Flores and Darwin Bermudez, Gray believes his Honduran trio can make the difference this time in the SCL.
“The guys from Honduras are playing with the team, so I think we’ll be doing great this time. They bring a lot of experience to our team. Georgie is a great professional. They love him in Belize. I like his style. He’s very coachable and our young players learn a lot from Georgie and Rony,” said Gray.
On the docket for Bandits in the 2018 SCL Round of 16 will be a tough test against Honduran side Motagua. Less than 24 hours after the draw had been held, Gray was already plotting his team’s strategy against the Catrachos.
“We have to prepare for Motagua, they are a big club so we have some work to do. Last year was the first time for us, it was a learning experience so this time we know we can do better and that’s what we’re going for,” concluded Gray.