Scottish-based midfielder Russell Latapy is scheduled to arrive in the country next Tuesday August 30 to join coach Leo Beenhakker’s training camp ahead of the next 2006 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on the Saturday.
Latapy, who made himself available to the National team again following a discussion with Jack Warner on Monday, is expected to play for Falkirk against Aberdeen on August 27 and then has to tie up some personal business before taking the flight out of London along with the rest of the selected UK-based players. Latapy’s local representative Wayne Mandeville also “confirmed that Latapy was scheduled to touch down on the stated date.
Team skipper Dwight Yorke is scheduled to arrive in Port of Spain on Monday August 29 and should be available for the start of the training camp the following morning.
“Russell is set to come in on the 30th after a game with Falkirk that weekend. He has a couple things to see about and then he will be here with us,” team manager Bruce Aanensen said on Wednesday. “He will come in with the rest of the guys on that flight and Dwight along with Silvio (Spann) are expected to be with us the day before.”
Latapy added, “I have commitments at the club and obviously that has been the big thing in my career up to recent times but I have made this decision to come back and be part of the national team and the necessary procedures will follow from here.”
The former T&T captain played 90 minutes and set up one of the goals in Falkirk’s 2-1 win over Partick Thistle on Tuesday. He cleverly split the Thistle rearguard allowing Stephen O'Donnell to steal in behind and slam a left-footed shot from 16 yards past Kenny Arthur and into the corner of the net.
Several of the current members of the team have expressed enthusiasm in playing with the “Little Magician” again and so far the general feeling has been a positive one regarding the sort of contribution to former FC Porto player can make at this stage of the campaign.
“I met with Russell several times when I was at Dundee and the thought of his return would always pop up but back then it seemed it would never happen. But now that he’s decided to rejoin the team, it definitely will add something extra to what we have at the moment,” Sancho said on Wednesday.
Local-based pro Densill Theobald couldn’t hold back his feelings adding “Since the start of the final round I kept saying how great it would be to have the ‘boss’ back in the team. Even when he said he wasn’t coming back a few weeks ago I still kept my hopes up and now my wish seems to have come true. Even as a young player in the team, I am really anxious to see him on the field for us again,” Theobald said.
Meantime, team doctor Terrance Babwah has been monitoring Brent Rahim’s strained calf and the midfielder is expected to be ready for training again by this weekend.
But there was unfortunate news for striker Hector Sam who suffered a broken leg in Port Vale’s 3-1 loss to Rotherham United in English League One action on Tuesday. Agent Mike Berry said the player may be out for up to three months.
The home-based pros trained on Tuesday under assistant coaches Wim Rhisbergen and Theo de Jong who had a look at the Guatemalans in their last World Cup qualifier against Panama earlier this month. Beenhakker returned to Holland to tie up some personal business and returns here on Thursday. He will no doubt also be keeping a close eye on the Guatemalans who face Jamaica in a friendly on Saturday in Kingston.