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T&T U-15s lose 4-0 to C/Rica; Latapy: Tactical awareness and experience made the difference

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 head coach Russell Latapy pointed to experience and tactical awareness, as two areas in which his charges must improve after they started their CONCACAF Under-15 Championship campaign today with a 4-0 loss to Costa Rica in Bradenton, Florida, USA.

The young Soca Warriors conceded two soft goals in the first half as miscommunication between goalkeeper Jahiem Wickham and his defence gifted Manfred Ugalde the opener in the 14th minute. And Wickham misjudged a cross from Costa Rica captain Jose Tello, which he palmed into his own goal for the second item in the 40th minute.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 Team coach Russell Latapy (left) likes what he sees during an exhibition match at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

A close range finish by Giancarlo Castro and a penalty by Dereck Valentin—in the 44th and 59th minutes respectively—rounded off the score summary.

But, despite the scoreline, Latapy said his troops gave a decent account of themselves.

“I thought that the better team eventually won the game [but] we had a couple opportunities, especially one in the first minute, which we should have probably scored,” Latapy told the TTFA Media, “and the game would have been a different one if we were playing from the front. The difference in the both teams wasn’t quality but instead tactical awareness.

“You can tell the Costa Rican players were playing at a high level and they were able to manage the game better at different stages. We are a team that is getting to that point, which is where matches like these will serve us well going forward.”

Trinidad and Tobago play again tomorrow when they face Canada while their final Group B match is against the United States on Wednesday. United States edged Canada 1-0 today.

Before the tournament, Latapy said he was very happy with the ability of his squad and today’s loss did not change his mind.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 playmaker Josiah Edwards (right) tries to escape from Republic Bank XI defender Nathan Guy (centre) while his teammate Keron Manswell looks on during action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“In terms of technical ability, we were right there [and] if you looked at the game, you would’t think it was a 4-0 scoreline,” said Latapy. “But a lack of playing at that level affected us… Most importantly for the players is that it’s a great experience and a fantastic learning curve.

“I am hoping that our players can see the difference between the two teams is that [Costa Rica] were a bit better tactically and played their positions better whereby we were still getting into a bit more individual play and holding the ball in the wrong [areas].”

Despite the daunting group, Latapy still believes the Under-15s can qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.

“We need to win the two games to get through to the knockout stages but we are going to go for it,” said the former Trinidad and Tobago football icon. “I was fairly happy with some of the things I saw. We are a much better team than we were earlier in the year but we still need the experience of playing international games in which this here is part of the process.”

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 Team players pose before kick off against a Republic Bank XI at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago (starting team): 1.Jahiem Wickham (GK); 2.Randy Antoine, 5.Cephas St Rose, 16.Marc Wharfe, 3.Darian Bradshaw; 13.Zachary Welch, 9.Ezekiel Kesar (captain); 7.Jean-Heim Mc Fee, 10.Josiah Edwards, 11.Jaiye Sheppard; 17.Justin Araujo-Wilson.

Substitutes: 18.Kernel La Fon (GK), 4.Antonio Chee Ting, 12.Rhowen Stewart-Williams, 6.Jabari Lee, 15.Adriel George, 8.Josiah Allen, 14.Aamal Julien.

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  1. There is a lot of fight down thing on that the u 15

  2. Just imagine that Coach Latapy is still allowing two players to touch of the ball in the middle eh,and is BOOM kick down the road eh, can somebody please let him know that FIFA changed that rule since in 2015 , and all the goals came from blunders eh, Dem set ah bootleg coaches in our sweet country.Them really good yes.

  3. From all accounts Latapy seems to be well supported by this administration and my hope is that he is able to impact these youngsters positively. Winning isn’t the most important thing for these players at this stage, however, there should be something to point too that shows that they are improving…my greatest concern as it relates to most youth teams locally is our inability to fight, compete, contest etc. Grit, desire and determination can sometimes compensate for a lack of quality. Jamaica’s performance in the Gold Cup is a classic example…hope the T&T boys continue to get better!

    • Sherwood this is the general gist here. Most everyone here is not expecting immediate success just signs of a plan on the playing field and it’s not apparent. I’m not sure if the discord is that it’s Latas who is being criticised or just the disatisfaction with the general progress of the team. But I don’t see how we should just be ok with mediocrity at this level …all kinds of excuses are exploding onto the thread ….

    • Malik if you’re on the “ground” as we say here locally, you would realize very quickly why we struggle, and I’m using the so called “top level” of youth football – the youth pro league as a benchmark, this is of course, where 90 percent of the national teams are selected from. The truth is there is one organization locally that has figured it out and they have dominated. Their approach is the closest to what is needed for our youth players to compete – whether locally or on the international stage. Strangely, none of their personnel are involved in the youth national team set up – the message therefore that is sent to the coaching community at large is that there is something other that performance that’s considered as a criteria for the opportunity to coach at the national team level. Until these prevailing attitudes change by those who make decisions – we will never have a culture where local youth coaches are pursuing excellence, and, the result of that is a generation of underprepared players and of course – mediocre results in tournaments such as the one we’re currently involved in.

    • Sherwood if I was on the “ground” we woulda been drinking something all now. Clearly you got it.

  4. Only ah set ah bootleg youth coaches in our sweet country so what results alyuh really expecting when our players are picked to represent our sweet country to play for our national teams eh, VS the real football nations abroad eh. Them really good yes.

  5. Carlos. Agreed but with that said, we should also be transparent in posting coaching positions, understanding coaching qualifications so we select best candidates. Also need better player scouting and recruitment, and lastly even better facilities and preparation. It all goes together to improving the end product.

  6. Some people feel technically and tactically sound players does fall from a tree yes. The TTFA, the pro league, the recently formed Super League, the secondary school league, etc – all have a part to play in the development of our pipeline. The foundation is not in place as yet, but some progress is being made.

    • However, I don’t think there is enough development taking place in our schools.

    • SSFL is a competition
      Coaches don’t do development work they select or transfer players as he see fit or are able too.
      There are quite a number of academies and coaching schools around , as far as I see most of them are dong more damage than good .
      Only players who already show the qualities are given special attention
      We have no policy in selecting youth players for training ,we select players to ply in a tournament .
      Coaches like Latapy have not made their bones coaching young players, so how can they develop a philosophy of coaching that is their own .

  7. And I just notice that Nikel Rawlins wasn’t part of the team….

  8. There will be both at that age group even after 6 months in my humble opinion.

  9. I am willing to accept a gap in tactical awareness between us and our competition, however can tactical awareness overcome what I see and saw as technical deficiencies?

  10. 1/ Lack of tactical awareness.
    2/ Costa Rica played at higher level.
    3/ Better game management than us.
    4/ They were more experienced.
    5/ Played their positions better.

    It seems to me a lot of things weren’t up to par hopefully when the boy’s come back we would implement a program to fix all the problems. Don’t be afraid to enter them in a local league in an older age group coach man. Corneal did it and his youth team qualified for a world cup we don’t need big money and have to hop on a plane to gain experience and the more you see them play the more you will be able to adjust the short comings. Good luck in your other two games.

  11. Roger – to your point about better players being left behind. That always happens bro. Some players don’t do well at tryouts. However, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t get other opportunities to prove they deserve to be in the squad. Some of the players that were selected for this development tournament likely wouldn’t cut it and will be replaced by others. It’s the nature of the game at this level.

  12. I’ve been to a lot of the training sessions and practice games against mediocre teams,

  13. And yours and Terry’s assessment are based on what? A 2 min video clip of the game?

  14. There are much better players who were left back for what ever reason, I agree with Terry the training wasn’t what it was supposed to be

  15. Development is not about winning but you must see improvement all the time. I saw some Pro league youth games this season and it looked just like how we looked against Costa Rica. We need more structure and a lot lot more focus on the basics.

  16. That’s not easy to coach in that age group,a youth coach need experience with youth(and I mean years of experience with youth)need proper staff,need a capillary scouting system,tactics on that age groups still basics but ,I think they are behind in technical skills to.The National team is just the result of the entire youth system

  17. What has been Latapy’s record as a coach?

  18. How much longer will we keep hearing this same type of comments by national teams coaches? How come we know what is needed after the fact & we lose, but there is still no unified structure to our football. All out in my personal view the sport of football in T&T lacks new minds with new methods of taking the game forward. Mind you Russel Latapy is one of my favorites but he isn’t up to par on the coaching level & we need to let go of this illusion that not all great players can transition into becoming great or even good to say the least coaches & deserve the position of head coach of a Nat’l squad.

  19. We are not technically prepared…. clowns

  20. We are going to get beat by the US, Canada?

    • What’s wrong with getting beat by the US, Canada and/or Costa Rica? These countries have 4 – 300 times the population of Tnt. They have well established professional leagues, with well oiled youth development programs. They are obviously years ahead of us, with a tremendous human resource to select from. We are unfortunately only now trying to put a structure in place to provide us with a solid pipeline of players. Patience will be needed. Also, this is a development tournament people. Let’s see how the team progress over the next few games. Let’s see if our players and coaches have a strong ability to learn – to adjust – to adapt.

  21. Correct Justin, we’ve had months of U15 trials and camps, wtf excuses, our kids are not so bad, management and direction are abysmal

  22. Kelvin Jack you cant make excuses for this incompetence. The other teams are the same age as our boys yet the coach is admitting that those boys are tactically more aware and we making excuses for him not doing his job of getting our players more tactically aware

  23. Latapy and Corneal are gambling on a deal/contract with a task master who doesn’t follow through on any promises? There will be trouble ahead!

  24. Hahaha that is your job, coaches are responsible for TACTICAL AWARENESS, WTF are we and these young players taking on, incompetence and fudging crabs in a barrel running football. Fail and get a job, all the past outstanding contracts are coming back because of mismanagement.
    Pass the buck, not my fault, must be someone else.

  25. Once they keep playing at this level and Russel keeps reinforcing his philosophy we should see improvements.. tactical improvement may take a bit more time.. this is a crucial age and good coaching is absolutely vital for their development.

  26. Way too harsh on Russel here.. at 14-15 you have to be very very patient and not expect too many miracles. While at this age you talk about winning a coach will need to be doing a lot of video analysis and repetition work.. games and more games will allow these kids to make errors and learn. Listen guys.. we are behind most of the concacaf big boys. It is the reason why we desperately need structure in our football development programme..

    • Dude you cyah be serious …Latas has had this team longer than most of our national teams have trained together. We’re not looking for miracles we’re looking for signs of progress. …. there is none. Which national team has Latas coached with success? Latas is the most talented player from TT I’ve ever laid eyes on. His talent and understanding of the game is beyond question. But I don’t believe he can communicate his ideas effectively enough to be a head coach. Maybe a knowledgeable assistant but not the main man. I’m tired of excuses for poor coaching ….poor coaching is poor coaching regardless of the talent available

    • Malik.. have you been to Russell’s sessions? Are you privy to what he is doing on the training pitch? I’m not defending as he was my teammate as I don’t lick ass.. I’m being realistic.. our 14-15 year olds would almost certainly be physically gifted., but they lack experience and decision making skills for the international game. It can be hugely frustrating coaching this age as you would do something the day before and then the next day they forget all what you taught them. Patience is the key here and just giving them games..it’s possible Russel could be a poor coach but we don’t have a sense of realism in Trinidad and Tobago especially when you consider how poor football is organised in our country.. we all expect a bit too much

    • Kelvin …. I agree with your age group theory in terms of inconsistency. I’ve seen some of his sessions with the U17 team NOT the U15. Your points of discussion are solid my concerns are that in most teams I’ve seen Latas affiliated with we suffer defensively. We go forward with reckless abandon but recover like we’re on vacation and I’m not imagining this. You wanna know how big a fan I am of Latas?? I had his Malta Carib poster on my wall in college when he played for Porto. I rate the player to the skies ..but I doubt his caliber as a coach. I’m open to him convincing me otherwise but as it stands my eyes don’t lie. I’ll bite and take your advice and wait but not hugely optimistic about him impacting that team … I’m not seeing a plan …

  27. Is there a bright side here? Think Latas in denial.

  28. After this tournament the boys should return with a renewed committment to train even harder and to break past their present limits.

  29. Weren’t this U15 group in Cayman Islands playing Manchester City, Houston Dynamno and two other teams that I can’t remember in May? That would have been international experience playing at a higher level plus time to impart tactical awareness outside of training 2 months plus before these matches. Secondly, I did not see the final roster bit preliminary rosters exhibited only local players, which is surprising.

  30. I think one loss cannot really be held in isolation. Would like to see the entire first round performance and results and even understand where both T&T and Costa Rica are at the tournament’s end, before passing judgement. Not expecting us to win the group or the tournament, but yes, coach Latapy has a lot to prove though.. BTW, TTFA credibility is also on the hook.

  31. Which coach can close the gap between Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica within a year though?
    I feel like i can’t see enough from the highlights to rate the team or Latapy’s work one way or the other. But it is not like we were thrashed by Jamaica.
    Bad result but not a shocking result to me.

  32. R lot more tournaments like this is needed at all levels……will do our kids good.

  33. Their level of play seems more like U12. Composure and actual body positioning for making a tackle are non existent.

  34. Latas great player but sucks as a coach

  35. So who is responsible for the lack of tactical awareness? maybe is the physio or the equipment manager. Did He have a coaching plan. If you have a programme tactics is a big part of that programme. In fact a train session for youth should have technical development, tactical awareness and physical development. The emphasis will depend on where you are in your training programme

  36. Wow – some of you guys are tough. Lol. Success don’t come overnight. A team is something you build – over time. These kids are 14-15 years old playing in a warm up tournament.

  37. Latapy continues to get head coach job in tnt eh….great player does not always equate to great coach, nuff said….

  38. Can we get some new excuses like we never played in snow before or that mud was not a sticky as ours .
    Technical and tactical deficiencies don’t cut it
    Proper game assessments before competition should tell us all that.
    As for traveling………..rubbish .

  39. Oh shutup Latas!! Pile of lala yuh coaching

  40. Isnt tactical awareness or lack thereof an indictment on the coach??

  41. Good international experience for the players and coaches. One would expect the players would have been nervous like hell. Likely first time some of them traveled abroad and even worst faced an international opponent. The important thing is that they learn from the experience. Understand how they compare to players outside of Tnt, and work to raise the level of their game.

  42. If those highlights were indicative of the game, we were never in it. What exactly does he mean by tactical awareness anyway?

  43. Kelvin Jack, is 14 or 15 too early to start judging goalkeepers? What do you think of the highlights?

  44. These tournaments are extremely essential for their development.

  45. Just watch the highlights and it could have been six or seven easily.

  46. So does not quality include tactical awareness? Duh!