National Senior Team Assistant Coach/Player Russell Latapy is refusing to become despondent on the heels of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2-2 draw with El Salvador and is saying that it is imperative too that the rest of the team and the people concerned with this country’s 2010 World Cup Qualification aspirations maintain a similar feeling towards its qualification chances.
Latapy, who was vocal throughout in his role as assistant coach from the sidelines at the Estadio Cuscatlan on Wednesday night, remained in good enough spirits after the encounter.
“I think if anybody had given us a point before the game then we would have been happy with it but we worked ourselves into a good position so we are quite disappointed in not coming away with the three points,” Latapy told TTFF Media.
“We got our tactics spot on except for the last ten minutes when we didn’t hang on to the lead. I think it shows that we have come a long way when we can go to a place like El Salvador in that kind of atmosphere and come away with a point and be disappointed so that is improvement in our football and our attitude in itself. It’s still a long campaign away and it’s not a bad way to start.
“Football is a game of philosophies and opinions. He (Maturana) is the head coach and the only philosophy and opinion that counts is his. We have to try and do what he’s teaching us and is asking of us. Obviously he has quality because he’s qualified,he’s won a lot of things and he’s an absolute legend in South America . He likes to play a certain way and I think we have the players to play in any system so it’s just a case of whoever is in charge likes to play.”
Asked whether he would now have to lace up his playing boots for the next match at home to Honduras on March 28 with Dwight Yorke and Chris Birchall out on suspension, Latapy added : “ When I first took the job I decided that I would do whatever I can to help the national team in this effort to qualify and if that means being on the park then I’m more than happy to do it.
“But in saying that in Argentina I got the opportunity to see the locally based players and I was quite impressed with a lot of them. I must say that their attitude and desire to do well for themselves and their family was spot on and if they can continue in that way then there is a possibility as well that we can throw these young players in and give them the opportunity.”
The former FC Porto man said it was important that the players continue their preparations with their Pro League teams heading into the new season.
“The critical thing now is that we maintain our focus and believe that we can do it. We need the whole nation to keep believing and support the drive,” Latapy concluded.
The scorer of T&T’s first goal on Wednesday Carlos Edwards was disappointed with the one point.
“Disappointed! That’s the only way to sum it up. But we have to put it behind us and focus on the remaining matches. I think a bit of fatigue may have cost us in the closing minutes of the match and it’s something we will work on. We need to regroup and put our heads down for the next match,” Edwards said.
“I think I was overdue in scoring for the country and I was saying before the game that I would score in the match. And Chris was saying ‘shoot… shoot’ and eventually I caught it well. Hopefully next time I score we can be on the end of a winning result,” the Sunderland winger added. (Feb 13,2009)