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Latapy: Not a bad performance; we will get there! U-20 coach sees positives after Honduras loss

“We were solid enough in the second half but, all in all—keeping in mind that this is development and preparation for November—we are heading [in the right direction], although we have a lot of work to do.

“As a nation, we have to face the reality that we are playing against teams that have players playing in the professional leagues and overseas as well; and some our boys—as talented as they are with as much potential as their young players—some of them are not even playing in our Pro League.”

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team coach and former iconic player, Russell Latapy, shares his thoughts to the TTFA Media, after his side’s 2-0 CAC Games loss to Honduras on 20 July:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago national youth team coach Russell Latapy (right) passes on instructions to midfielder Nickel Orr during CFU U-17 action against Jamaica on 20 September 2016 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
[It was] not a bad performance. We were nice and solid in the first thirty minutes playing against a [team that was] bigger and stronger than us.

Again I have to stress that this is preparation for us for the qualifiers in November, [so] I am quite happy with the way the game went. But we still have to improve a lot.

We have to be much better in our retention of the ball; we are winning things, breaking up plays in midfield and not able to keep the ball. We were compact enough and getting the ball in wide areas but just disappointing in the use of the ball and we give away too cheaply at times That caused us to have to work too hard to get it back and we got tired in the end.

We lost [to] two goals that I thought were avoidable—one came from a corner. But fair play to Honduras in that they were able to do things we were not able to do, even though we have been working on it, which is blocking players and preventing them from getting a free header. And they scored on us in that way.

And then seven minutes or so later, there was some indecision with a ball played over the top. [We could not decide] which player should cover and and which should attack the ball, allowing a simple cut back into the penalty spot; and the boy slips it away [to score].

We were solid enough in the second half but, all in all—keeping in mind that this is development and preparation for November—we are heading [in the right direction], although we have a lot of work to do.

As a nation, we have to face the reality that we are playing against teams that have players playing in the professional leagues and overseas as well; and some our boys—as talented as they are with as much potential as their young players—some of them are not even playing in our Pro League.

And with the lack of international matches we are always going to suffer and it is always going to be a learning experience.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team midfielder Kierron Mason (right) challenges Costa Rica midfielder Randall Leal (centre) during 2017 World Cup qualifying action against Costa Rica at the Estadio Nacional on 22 February 2017.
Costa Rica won 1-0.
(Copyright Straffon Images)

If we are going to qualify for a World Cup, then we need to have something in place that would allow us to play the number of games needed at this level. Some of the things we got caught out on today was not doing things at the right time, making fouls at the right time [and] falling down at the right time.

[And] being able to slow down the rhythm of the game when the tempo is against us [and] quicken up the tempo of the game and play the ball forward in the right areas when we are on the front foot. These things come with experience.

I have a couple players here who have not played five games at this level and it is difficult to just be thrown into a tournament like this. This is how you gain experience and I will say and ask continuously for the support that this team needs. Because a lot of these kids potentially are good players but it is always going to be an uphill battle if they don’t get the experience.

We have another game to play in a couple days and we will prepare and again go into the contest with the intention of giving it our best and trying to improve every step of the way towards November.

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14 comments

  1. It’s a pity that men like Latapy cannot mirror their brilliance and produce the talent in the youths of today. Next we must ask if they are being provided with the necessary resources that will provide success. All sport administrations in T&T operate in such a way that the prosperity shows in every way improvements in the administrators while the sports men and women have to stand the grind. Then too coaches like Latas have to stop making these excuses for losing matches. They would be much better off upholding their standards and dignity by letting these administrators know that the head of the dragon needs to be lopped of.

  2. John Williams what are you doing to structure the football in this country… If you all need advice for the way forward I am to give assistance.. I don’t have any degree but I love my country to assist to make us a proud nation in the way forward..

  3. First of all not not every player that playing pro league and super league is ready for international duties some of them could only play club football… let me explain Russell latapy and Clint Marcelle Trinidad and Tobago new about them from the guardian newspaper and express and TTT so we found the most talented footballers from zone football not that crap we call pro league we can’t even make it far in no tournament in Concacaf tournament.. Jamaica football improving faster than our football and know one is seeing that and they supposed to poorer than us economy wise ..

  4. When will we ever get it right ?
    From junior to senior level , the excuse is always ” we played well , but still need improvement “.. as I’ve said before , Dennis Lawrence has enough time since last world cup qualifies to settle on a starting 11 and a core 20 players to choose from , by the time gold cup and concacaf league starts nex year .. I doh wanna hear ” well, the boys did well , but we still trying out players ” .. do that all now ! Register the core of the national team into the pro league or something ,( if thats possible )so they’ll hav alot of playing time together before major tournaments.. and make sure Atuella Guerra gets a call up as well

  5. we as a people and as a country on the whole must stop being band wagonest and really support our sports men and women

  6. T&T footballers cannot play in the Top Leagues anymore sadly as fifa made a rule governing who they let in… So unless its a grassroot clubs climbing through the ranks then players cannot directly go and play… Fifa stated that your national team must be ranked within the Top 50 nations so Yorke and Latas wont have any effect if they scouted… We need improvement from the youth level, coaching,etc… We will get there one day tho…

    • Our players not in no condition to play in right close here in central America much less europe, Levy Garcia was we last top prospect in a while and he was technically sold right back out of Europe……Latapy generation grow up on small goal so they came with something, much of d current crop grow up on console and don’t live and breathe football….Latas and many coaches in trini don’t have d aptitude to work with dat…..unless we can get feet back on the ground playing like what still happen elsewhere in d world and put a system in place to refine dat material we not going nowhere but down

  7. It’s very strange that none of our ex professional footballers that played overseas is a scout for their old clubs like Dwight Yorke… Russell latapy… Clint Marcelle .. Leonson Lewis .. how can we go forward and these guys can’t open any doors for anyone and by the way Russell latapy was a good player but he is not a good coach he was in charge of the senior team and we was not successful with him now he is in charge of the youth team what you all think will happen the same thing and then we will hear the excuses after the tournament..

    • yuh seein obvious signs of poor technique, positioning, decision making, off d ball play, defensive structure, man being woefully off d pace in dat five minute vid, it eh funny…….and all we getting is d same bullshit excuses……yeah Latas probably get zero friendlies…..but we in ah real monkey pants when pro league and super league players looking like dey running primary school ball

  8. Where have I heared all this before???? Hmmmm yeah since 1988

  9. Success not now because we have the wrong people running football in this country that are very short sighted… when last any of our men youth team has made second wrong in any tournament..