The Belize national soccer team was briefly held up by an armed gang while in Haiti on Monday for their schedule 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The incident happened on the way to the team hotel from the airport in Port-au-Prince ahead of Thursday's match at Stade Sylvio Cator on Paramount+.
"Despite the four-man police escort, the team bus was stopped by an uproar of insurgents with assault rifles on motorcycles," the Football Federation of Belize said in a statement.
"We are pleased to report that our Jaguars, although shaken by their terrible experience, are safely at their hotel," the statement continued. The police escort with the team also apparently helped negotiate the release so that the players and staff could reach their hotel safely.
Tak kadrowicze Belize zostali „przywitani” na Haiti.— Michał Matlak (@matlak_michal) March 22, 2021
Na drodze do hotelu autokar został zatrzymany przez dużą grupę uzbrojonych mężczyzn. Czterech policjantów w eskorcie musiało negocjować z nimi dalszy przejazd.
O sytuacji powiadomiono już FIFA i CONCACAF.#CONCACAFpl pic.twitter.com/6b2NodQjXZ
The team is working with CONCACAF and FIFA to try and get everyone into a safer location for these matches. Belize's upcoming qualifier is scheduled to take place on Thursday against the home country where they were just held at gunpoint. These qualifier are for the 2022 tournament in Qatar. Belize has never qualified for a World Cup before, and Haiti has only done so once, which was in 1974.
This incident comes in the face of an ongoing political crisis in Haiti where the government has called a state of emergency that has been in effect since March 18.