Belize’s football federation (FFB) expressed “disappointment and disgust” on Monday after the team bus carrying the squad from the airport to their hotel was stopped by “an uproar of insurgents with assault rifles on motorcycles.”
The incident occurred on Monday morning after the squad arrived in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, ahead of their 2022 World Cup qualifier.
“Despite the four-man police escort, the team bus was stopped by an uproar of insurgents with assault rifles on motorcycles and police escorts were forced to negotiate with them for the team bus to continue its journey to the hotel,” the FFB said in a statement on its Facebook page.
“The situation is one that the team should have never faced but we are pleased to report that our Jaguars, although shaken by the terrible experience, are safely at their hotel,” the FFB added.
The federation posted a picture of the incident on its Facebook page showing at least two masked men carrying assault rifles. It is unclear how many men were involved and their motive.
The FFB said it was in contact with world football’s governing body FIFA and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) about “doing everything possible to get them to safer grounds.”
Belize’s co-captain Deon McCauley commended the team’s bravery adding that the incident was “a moment of intense fear.”
Neither FIFA nor CONCACAF immediately responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
CNN is also awaiting comment from Haitian police regarding Monday’s incident.
Belize are due to play Haiti in Port-au-Prince on Thursday in the first round of CONCACAF qualification matches for next winter’s World Cup in Qatar.