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Abracadabra! Little Magician poised to take over T&T Under-17 Team

The Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-17 football team may soon have a little magic working for them. Russell “Little Magician” Latapy, Wired868 has been reliably informed, will arrive in the country in the coming days to take up the post of head coach of the junior team.

Latapy’s local manager Wayne Mandeville confirmed to Wired868 that the Little Magician was interviewed by the TTFA for the Under-17 coaching job but declined  further comment until there’s a signature on the dotted line.

Photo: Ex-Inverness assistant manager and former Trinidad and Tobago football star and coach Russell Latapy. (Courtesy BBC)
Photo: Ex-Inverness assistant manager and former Trinidad and Tobago football star and coach Russell Latapy.
(Courtesy BBC)

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Technical Director Muhammad Isa also confirmed that the Association has indeed selected a candidate but he preferred not to make any announcement at this stage.

“Yes (someone has been appointed) but we just have to make sure that the technical committee approves of it,” Isa told Wired868. “But no, I don’t want to disclose any names at all.”

For the last two months, the National Under-17 side—which is due to take on their counterparts from three Caribbean countries in a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) qualifying tournament starting next month—has been largely rudderless.

Since Labour Day on June 19, they have been without an official head coach and were handled by a caretaker quartet comprising Duane Richardson, Kyle Small, Philbert Charles and Nigel Neverson, only one of whom—goalkeeper coach Neverson—has any international experience.

However, according to an anonymous source close to the TTFA, the team is about to get a lot more oomph in its coaching unit as former national youth keeper Neverson will soon be joined by Latapy as coach and former national player Reynold Carrington as assistant coach.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago international stand-out and ex-Point Fortin Civic coach Reynold Carrington (centre) exchanges greetings with Leonson Lewis (left) and ex-W Connection teammate Earl Jean during the 2015 Wired868 Football Festival. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago international stand-out and ex-Point Fortin Civic coach Reynold Carrington (centre) exchanges greetings with Leonson Lewis (left) and ex-W Connection teammate Earl Jean during the 2015 Wired868 Football Festival.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Together, the duo of Latapy and Carrington count over 120 senior international caps and both have coached at national level previously. Between 2009 and 2011, Latapy had stints as assistant coach and head coach of the Senior Men’s team and, most recently, he has served as assistant coach with Portugal’s Boavista and Scotland’s Inverness.

Carrington, a former W Connection standout, was once in charge of the Men’s Under-15 team and, for three years before a shock departure last January, worked with his hometown club Point Fortin Civic.

The man tipped for the assistant coaching role revealed that he had an interview on Tuesday he is yet to receive any correspondence from the TTFA.

“I’ve been through the interviewing process and everything like that but I cannot confirm whether or not I got that (assistant coach) position,” Carrington told Wired868. “I haven’t received any message concerning that yet.”

The team currently trains three times a week at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva under the guidance of its caretaker crew. But the source said that the revolving door is already in motion.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 defender Tekay Hoyce (left) chases Cuba attacker Yosniel Gonzales during the 2015 CONCACAF Championship. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 defender Tekay Hoyce (left) chases Cuba attacker Yosniel Gonzales during the 2015 CONCACAF Championship.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

“The coaches who were interim at the point in time will be holding on until the (CFU) leg of this tournament,” he claimed. “After the (CFU) leg of this tournament, they will be dismissed.“

In fact, contends the source, Charles “has already been dismissed.”

Wired868 asked Isa if there are any plans in place to retain the services of the current caretaker staff after the appointment of the new coach. The Technical Director indicated that the role of the interim coaching members will be settled today (Friday) at a technical committee meeting.

“There is a proposal to retain the staff,” Isa said, “but I cannot say if all three (interim coaches) will be kept on. All that is up for discussion.”

Whoever may comprise his background staff, Latapy will be hoping for more success than he had in his last Caribbean Cup when his senior “Soca Warriors” team crashed out before the semi-final stage of the 2010 tournament. The early exit meant that T&T missed out on the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a failure which arguably cost Latapy his coaching job.

Photo: Russell Latapy,(left), Clayton Ince (middle) and Stan Collymore take part in the 2015 Legacy Community Outreach programme in Trinidad. (Courtesy Sinead Peters/Wired868)
Photo: Russell Latapy,(left), Clayton Ince (middle) and Stan Collymore take part in the 2015 Legacy Community Outreach programme in Trinidad.
(Courtesy Sinead Peters/Wired868)

The Under-17s kick off their campaign against Haiti at the Ato Boldon Stadium on September 16. And the Haitians apart, Bermuda and Jamaica will be the ones trying to make life as difficult as possible for the once mesmerising Magician and his teenage charges.

About Roneil Walcott

Roneil Walcott
Roneil Walcott is an avid sports fan and freelance reporter with a BA in Mass Communication from COSTAATT. Roneil is a former Harvard and St Mary's College cricketer who once had lofty aspirations of bringing joy to sport fans with the West Indies team. Now, his mission is to keep them on the edge of their seats with sharp commentary from off the playing field.

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114 comments

  1. Heading in the right direction should he be given the chance to move forward with crop of youngsters in four to five years we will be on top of regional football might be even in the top three in C.O.N.C.A.C.A.L.F BUT IT TAKES TIME!!! I don’t want a quick fix let him take his time get some “good” scouts to look here for the talent and he will take us places, good luck lata’s i will be watching.

  2. What’s wrong with Latas as a coach ? The man had one head coach stint for TnT (albeit wrong timing and acceptance of post), and we don’t believe the man can succeed ?

  3. Not sure if is little or big magician but we going to need a Master Technician(s) to ready our boys for:

    September 16 Haiti
    September 18 Bermuda
    September 20 Jamaica

    If the schedule is unchanged, less than a month to ready the boys with philosophy/approach. We, the adults have again disappointed our children by not providing proper preparations.

  4. Has Latapy been paid yet for his time with the senior team?

  5. This situation is like Marodona being the 2nd greatest player ever from Argentinà, but it still dont make him a world class coach….on another note latapy cant even walk in stephen hart shoes wen come to coaching

  6. ..As I said previously, good luck to Latapy if he is in fact appointed ad U17 coach. He will need some. But the MANNER in which his (suspected) and other appointments are proceeding is distasteful. Unethical even. And THAT is my issue. Nothing personal..

  7. What is latapy claim to fame as a coach ?????? Nada, nil, zilch, nothing

  8. Well the word on the street is that the Magician is being put in place so when Coach Hart looses against Guatemala and then to my second sweetest country and our sweet country doesn’t qualify for the World Cup 2018 eh, Them really good yes,

  9. Interesting, very interesting.

    U 17

    Hmmm

  10. Let women’s team train under him too

  11. Where is Coach Elie? This team has been “rudderless for the past two months” only because of the ‘disappearance’ of Mr. Ken Elie.

    I’d really like to know who was of the opinion that it was sensible to remove a head coach just a few months before a Tournament starts to replace him with someone else. This country sweet too bad. It’s all about politricks and gimmicks yes. Trinis are more concerned with how things look than with things actually working well. Sure “little magician” is a good look but Mr. Elie definitely had things working well.

    My only hope is that this team which (true only for some players) have been training for two years now won’t have to suffer because big people refuse to let good sense prevail.

  12. Latapy as a player excellent !!!! Latapy as a coach yuck ???

  13. Allow me to clear up any and all miss-information; miss- communication, miss- understanding; miss- conception in the public domain; Mr. Latapy will not be replacing Mr. Heart if he assume the position under speculation ( discussion); and or any position within his scope of offering; but thing about it in the context of adding value from an overall perspective which will elevate the critical thinking of coaches; along with formalized strategy application and the quality of football inclusive of (human capital development).

  14. No it is is the selection policies

  15. Well if you were a player you would have something to bring to the table if you went on to study coaching but that is not our problem in this country. …it’s succession planning

  16. Those guys jus looking to survive not because you played foitball make you a coach do a back ground check on all the players who played outside an has returned ?

  17. Well here’s to starting from the ground up. wish him luck. Hope those young stars make it to the senior team as a unit.that will be my barometer for success

  18. Look at the tt pro league coaches except at w connection they constantly failing however they underminding the better coaches to ensure they have a job

  19. Ok however Heart is doing a great job the biggest problems here are the undermind failures

  20. Latas not coming here to stick with any U17 Team, not unless he was promised something bigger… Additionally, the TTFA owes him a sizeable amount of money…..

  21. Hart better watch out….. Just saying

  22. If this happens will be great , but he needs to be paid, that part payment may have been quite a while.

  23. Was the money owed to him ever paid or settled? Latas would be a positive addition to the staff, and once he is given the freedom to do his thing, our U17s will be more competitive in Concacaf……..

  24. Yes Lasana….a small amount on the outstanding balance was made

  25. Wish him all the very best, just keep your eyes peeled on their every move…I fraid these people

  26. looking in from the outside….why the sports NGOs in TT have so much bacchanal…not only the sports NGOs….but the entire country everything is bacchanal….WHY….

  27. I hope he can put some fire and fight in those boys hearts

  28. Don’t play with my emotions, Lasana. Latas coaching U-17s?

  29. . My only comment at this point is that these appointments are deeply cynical. Good luck to Latapy and the new staff because we all wish the best for our national teams. But where the TTFA could not find money to pay current staff they will now find to pay new staff, including Latapy, who is already owed monies and who ain’t coming to work for a small monthly stipend? I repeat, this is cynical..

  30. Russell ever got the monies previously owed to him

  31. Oh ho! The U-17…I hear it was the senior team

  32. Seems like they can pay who they want to pay. Good luck to Russell Latapy and I hope he succeeds.
    For other local coaches… Take note. If they respect you, they will find money to pay you.

  33. Somebody’s got to do it. Hoping for the best