IFAF Americas Qualifying Bowl – Panama v. Brazil

This article is the first of a short series of articles covering the IFAF 2015 World Championship Qualifying Bowl – Panama v. Brazil, representing the IFAF Americas.

Panama is set to compete against Brazil for the last remaining spot of the IFAF Americas qualifying round.

So far from the federation, the reigning IFAF world champions, USA, have been fast tracked to the final tournament by default, and Canada and Mexico have since qualified. In light of the recent announcement that the IFAF 2015 Senior World Championship in Stockholm Sweden has been cancelled and pending relocation to the USA, the Qualifying Bowl organizer and IFAF member, the Asociación de Fútbol Americano de Panamá (AFFP) has reiterated that planning arrangements are still moving forward for the event scheduled Saturday, January 31st, 2015.

AFFP Official Logo WebThe AFFP is extremely pleased and proud to announce that the venue for the qualifying game is the Estadio Rommel Fernández G. This will be the first time in the history of Panamanian American Football that a game is played in the National Stadium.

Guillermo Suarez, Head Coach of the National Team of Panama, President of the AFFP and Vice President of the IFAF Americas, had this to say about the recent World Championship cancellation in Sweden announcement.

 “This is a very sad story. I don’t have all the details yet, but to read media reports of fraud allegations and missing money, takes away from the longstanding credibility of the IFAF. I have a feeling of discouragement that the leadership of the IFAF has been put into question. As well, everybody was looking forward to having twelve teams competing in the World Championship. The announcement came at the most inopportune time, during the holiday season and only a short sprint of time away from the Panama v. Brazil Qualifying Bowl. It really has put a damper on our spirits. We are feeling anticipation, shock, disbelief and an overwhelming sense of disappointment.”

With just weeks away from the most notable American Football event ever to be held in Panama, Coach Suarez was asked what benefits does he feel this Qualifying Bowl will bring to the sport in Panama?

“Having the Qualifying Bowl played in the National Stadium will bring awareness and interest to the sport. Each and every youth in Panama who will watch the Qualifying Bowl can have future hope to one day play there. For our youth, the goal of playing in the National Stadium will foster inspiration, opportunity and respect. For the veteran players, to be able to close out their playing careers at the National Stadium will give them a sense of accomplishment and pride. We did it!”

Panama’s path to IFAF Americas Qualifying Bowl

In the September of 2013, the 1st IFAF sanctioned Central American Bowl took place in El Salvador hosted by the IFAF member, Salvadorian Association of American Intramural Football, SAAIF. Five countries participated: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and respectively Panama. Honduras was invited, but unfortunately was not able to attend. All of the participating countries agreed that the winner of the Bowl would go on to represent the Central American region in the upcoming IFAF Americas qualifying round for the 2015 Senior World Championship. Panama beat out Costa Rica in the championship game thus securing the honor.

2013 1st CA Bowl Panama Team

Team Panama of the 2013 Central American Bowl

With an extensive history of coaching the national team since 1998, Coach Suarez as Head Coach of the 2015 National Team of Panama, has implemented strategic actions with the team since qualifying in 2013 to represent Central America.

 “We have been conditioning to improve our physical strength and endurance. In January we are increasing our weekly practice schedule from 3x’s per week to 4x’s per week and our defensive scheme has been upgraded with new personnel. We have worked to protect the pass that we noted was one of our weak points when we played against Costa Rica in the Independence Cup this past September. We have also identified other areas where we felt we were lacking and upgraded our entire scheme to compete against a true passing team.”

The Panamanian league has a number of locally recognized exceptional players who are expected to be on the final roster for the National Team of Panama competing in the Qualifying Bowl. In mid-January, the AFFP will host a press conference to present the final roster of 45 players chosen from a pre-selection roster of 68 players. More in depth details about these star players, and the history of the National Team of Panama to follow in an upcoming article.

Ticket information and links on the next page!

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Ms Elle has a career in corporate communication and branding, spanning four continents over 25 years, with recent years pursuing sports marketing and media. She is currently living in Costa Rica and assists with the promotion of American football in