Coach Latapy sees bright future for Soca Warriors


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Russell Latapy is excited about the future of the Trinidad & Tobago Soca Warriors.

The Soca Warriors’ head coach was speaking after he announced an 18-member squad that will travel to Basseterre to take on St Kitts & Nevis in a friendly international on July 4 at Warner Park.

“We’ve always had a lot of talent especially with some of these players we have coming through now,” said Latapy on Saturday.

“But I am a realist, and I know football is also a game of results, so it’s one thing to perform to a decent standard, but I would much prefer not to play well and win points particularly when we are in a competition.”

Latapy added: “I’m quite happy with the young lads who came in. It was always very difficult to throw them into fire.

“I would much prefer to breed them and take my time with that process, but that’s the situation we’re in where I’ve had to ask these young players to go out and perform at the highest level without having much experience.

“That is the nature of football and sometimes it’s a situation where you either sink or swim.”

Latapy identified two young players that have impressed him from the number of homegrown players that have come into the national set-up.

“There is something special about young Hayden Tinto,” he said. “He’s quick with a low centre of gravity and aggressive offensively – which is something we need to get more in our game if we need goals.

“Then there’s Radanfah Abu Bakr who is a very confident young lad and very composed.”

Latapy felt that the Soca Warriors had a number of senior players that would make way sooner rather than later, and he expected some of the young players like Tinto and Abu Bakr to emerge.

“We have a lot of old players involved now and this will be the changing of a generation which looks positive also,” he said.

“We have to start giving these players the experience because they are the ones who will be flying the flag for us. I know it was a difficult situation to throw them in our previous two matches, but I thought they came out with flying colours.”

T&T are now last in the final round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and face El Salvador on August 12 at home in a crucial qualifier.

“We will take the good with the bad … and in football, like in life, you move on and try to improve yourself and the team,” he said.

“You stick to your beliefs and once this happens … you can be sure there will be an improvement.”

To prepare for the El Salvador match, the Soca Warriors will travel to Scotland for a live-in training camp.

The camp will coincide with the ending of pre-season and the beginning of the new season in Britain.

The trip to Scotland is expected to include at least three matches against Scottish Premier League clubs.