Trinidad and Tobago’s Scottish-based midfielder and former national football captain Russell Latapy has decided to make a return to international duty following a special late plea from Special Advisor to the TTFF Jack Warner and Team Captain Dwight Yorke.
The decision by the “Little Magician” came on Monday morning after Warner spoke to the Falkirk player/coach via mobile and requested, for a final time, his services to the “Warriors” who are now in a must win situation in their next 2006 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on September 3.
In the first instance, the 37-year-old Latapy has agreed to make himself available to the team for the match against Guatemala and the clash away to Costa Rica on September 7. Latapy’s local business handler Wayne Mandeville also said that Latapy met with Falkirk manager John Hughes on Monday morning shortly after speaking to Warner, to reveal his plans to rejoin the T&T camp.
“This has come about after several long thoughts and sleepless nights following the match against the United States,” Warner told TTFF Media. “A big part of it also has to do with Dwight telling me that he has spent so much time thinking it over and he believes that Russell needs to be back in the team. It is also a special plea from me to Russell to come back and play for the country and he has agreed to do this for the next two games in the first instance and we are thrilled about this latest development,” Warner added shortly before jetting off to Peru on FIFA business. He added that he will also be in touch with Latapy from there.
Latapy in an immediate response, said he was willing to make a contribution with the country’s interest at heart, particularly on the requests of Yorke and Warner.
“The situation is one where Dwight spoke to Warner and he spoke to me and a decision was then agreed upon. Warner made it clear that they would like me to contribute and for the cause at the moment, for Dwight, for Jack Warner and the country, I am willing to do whatever I can,” Latapy told TTFF Media.
“Everyone knows my situation with the coaching and my demands at Falkirk now and that is where my bread and butter is coming from so it’s obviously not going to be easy. The coaching market is a hard one now at the moment and it’s not something that I can just run away from. There are a lot of things to consider with the club as well. But as I said the reality is that I would love to come back and do whatever I can for the country at this time,” Latapy said.
Previously during the “Journey to Germany” campaign, attempts had been made to get Latapy back in the set up but the former FC Porto man had explained that he commitments to Falkirk, particularly his new direction into coaching, would make it difficult to take up duties with T&T, especially as he preferred to contribute as an assistant coach as well.
But his change of heart is an obvious boost for the “Warriors” for the remainder of the campaign. Latapy last appeared for T&T in a 2002 World Cup Qualifier against the United States in June of 2001 before announcing his retirement from international football along with Yorke.
So far this season Latapy has earned plaudits for his performances for Falkirk in the Scottish Premier League, appearing in their four League matches so far.
Former teammate and assistant coach David Nakhid as well feels Latapy’s addition will bolster the T&T outfit.
“This is great news especially considering the circumstances. It will give the team just the right boost that it needs at this time,” Nakhid said from Lebanon.
Young midfielder Silvio Spann, fresh from a creditable showing against the Americans, was also ecstatic on hearing of Latapy’s return.
“For a moment I still can’t believe it,” Spann said from Yokohama. “It’s delightful news for us because I for one have been longing for a chance to play with the skipper and I think the team will certainly welcome his return at this time. It’s a crucial period for us and to have him back will be a plus for us.”