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Give latas more time as coach of football team
It is somewhat surprising to see how vocal critics have been concerning Russell Latapy’s tenure as coach of the T&T’s senior football team. Individuals like Terry Fenwick have been very outspoken concerning the poor performance of the national senior team at the Digicel Cup and widespread speculation has begun as to the “Little Magician’s” future as head coach. Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Anil Roberts was previously quoted as saying that if the national team did not make it to the Digicel Cup final Latapy should be sacked. Such a view was supported by many members of the public, mainly because it is the belief of the general public that T&T is the best team in the Caribbean (and rightfully so) but it should be noted that the proper support was not given to Latapy. It seems that members of the TTFF and other influential figures within the football arena were simply waiting and watching from a distance in anticipation for the inexperienced “beginner coach” to fail.
It was revealed by TTFF technical director Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips that the TTFF was unable to afford a friendly match before the Digicel Cup, while other nations involved in the cup were gaining much needed preparation during the Fifa international break. The TTFF cannot even afford to allow the basic footballing necessity of a friendly match while throughout the year other Carib-bean countries, like Jamaica, are able to play quality opponents like Argentina and Nigeria and then we are disappointed and surprised when we suffer at the hands of so-called “inferior opposition.” While we Trinidadians/Tobagonians are now coming off of the high of qualifying for Germany (four full years from the date), other Caribbean nations are diligently improving their football. We seem to think that a quick fix could solve every problem.
Some seem to think that by firing our own son of the soil “Latas” and hiring a “big name” foreign coach (who we all know would demand and get quality friendly matches) Brazil 2014 could be achieved. Ironically, such individuals may actually be right. But it should be noted that the growth and development of football in T&T would be surely stunted, being pushed back another four years. Russell Latapy is the one coach in a long time who has sought to use locally-based players to the fullest. When Francisco Maturana left as head coach of T&T, he made known the insecurities of local players with regard to their foreign-based counterparts and Latapy has addressed this situation by allowing many more opportunities for local and younger players. If it was not for Latapy, young players like Daniel Cyrus and Shahdon Winchester may have never seen a T&T senior team jersey so early in their careers, thus allowing them to be groomed into sure future prospects for T&T.
Mikhail ED Byng
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