Newly appointed Trinidad and Tobago head coach Leo Beenhakker is scheduled to arrive in this country on Monday evening from the Netherlands for a four-day stay during which he will meet with local officials and players and take care of initial arrangements for his tenure with the National Football Team.
Beenhakker, the former Netherlands, Real Madrid and Ajax coach will meet with Special Adviser to the TTFF, Jack Warner and other members of the TTFF Executive and Technical Advisory Committee as well as visit some of the facilities in the country before returning to the Netherlands on Thursday.
Meantime, the TTFF wishes to advise that there is no truth to an article in the UK Daily Mirror on Saturday which stated that Ron Atkinson was the man initially appointed as head coach before a being stripped of the job.
“Ron Atkinson was offered a new job as coach of the Trinidad and Tobago football team yesterday - then stripped of the position after a furious players' revolt.
Delighted team chiefs - who had ruled out ex-Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan as too expensive - called the squad together yesterday to announce their new appointment. After a stunned silence, one senior player screamed: "You have got to be f***ing mad! You are joking me! I am not playing for Ron Atkinson. I don't care what anybody says, he's a racist."
Other members of the squad - which includes ex-Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, Portsmouth keeper Shaka Hislop and Southampton's Kenwyne Jones - stormed out of the meeting. They warned they would quit the side if he was made boss. The meeting was called at 2pm. The vicious backlash left the embarrassed Trinidad FA with no option but to withdraw the offer to Atkinson - which had already been signed and sealed, subject to conditions,” The Mirror report stated.
The TTFF did have Atkinson on a shortlist of coaches and this was mentioned to the players during a meeting at the Crowne Plaza on Thursday morning but no word of his official appointment was given. Following further talks, Atkinson and other names were then taken off the list as it was agreed that Beenhakker was the best man for the position. This decision was then well received by the players.
Beenhakker has worked as coach for Feyenoord, Ajax, Real Zaragoza, Volendam, Real Madrid, Grasshoppers, America (Mexico), Istanbulspor, Guadalajara and Vitesse Arnhem. In 1985, 1986 and 1990 he was Dutch national coach and guided the Saudi Arabian national team between 1993 and 1994.
The Dutchman has won six national titles in his coaching career, two with Ajax, three with Real Madrid and the last, with Feyenoord, in 1999.
With Beenhakker scheduled to come in on Monday, newly appointed Assistant Coach Russell Latapy has indicated that he should be in the country within the next two weeks.
“Latas” beat five players before slotting home in Fakirk’s 3-0 win over St Johnstone on Saturday and is likely to see his team clinch promotion into the Scottish Premier League by next weekend.
“I am grateful for having this opportunity now to come back and exploit this passion that I have for the game by working with the Trinidad and Tobago team in a positive way,” Latapy told TTFF Media.
“I think it’s the best time and way for me to impart my knowledge and I have no doubt that we can pull this off once everything is well orchestrated and the team can rise to the call. I am really looking forward to this challenge,” Latapy said.
In another interview published on the Falkirk website, Latapy said the invitation to become assistant coach came out of nowhere and he will leave options open at Falkirk.
”This offer came out of the blue. I receive e-mails every day from back home, asking me to come back and help my country out. I love it here at Falkirk, and would not have given any other job any consideration at all. I will stay here until we have completed our season, and hopefully see the Club back in the SPL. Depending on the results in the three vital qualifiers in June and July, I will make a decision then. If it is a return to Falkirk, I will be delighted because I love the Club and have made many new friends here.”
He added to TTFF Media: “I have confidence that we can work to a plan and come up with the sort of results that we are looking for to take us through the rest of the campaign”.