Wed, Jul

National midfielder Russell Latapy is calling for continued  faith in this country’s chances of advancing to the 2006 World Cup finals.

With the ‘Warriors’ now in a situation where they must go all out in their two remaining matches away to Panama on October 8 and home to Mexico four days later, Latapy, who played the last two games against Guatemala and Costa Rica in its entirety, has signaled his intentions to continue making a contribution to the “Journey to Germany”.

“It’s right after the game still and what I must say is that I thoroughly enjoyed being back with the team but that decision is one where I will have to sit with everyone involved meaning my club, the federation and my family. The good thing about it is that I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and that’s a step in the right direction,” Latapy told TTFF Media.

“We’re definitely still in with a chance. We got three points out of a four we were possibly looking for but it means we are still very much into it. What we need to do is to unify the country and concentrate on the football aspect because we all know what qualification would mean for us and what it can do for the country. In my mind I think I can come back on the playing side and make a positive contribution and I will be happy to do that if I’m invited,” the Falkirk player/coach added.

The former national captain has also made a plea for the country to rally behind the team and use the football fever as a catalyst for positive change in the society.

“If we can get the six points, then we definitely stand a chance but I think the country has to be the 12th man for us every step of the way. I remember watching the Euro Championship in Portugal and every single window of every house had national flags flying and people would be wearing the jersey of the national team days before the game and I think that is a big boost for us and a good thing for unifying the country. Sports has a way of doing that and we can get our minds of some of the other things happening in the society. We as players and other people involved are doing this because we are all professionals and this is what we live to do. In general the country will benefit from it and I’m asking the country to play their part and have that psychological effect by just coming out and supporting us. Let everybody see that Trinidad and Tobago is unifying,” said Latapy who responded by acknowledging the fans with overhead claps when the speakers blasted Machel Montano’s “You” when he first took the field last Saturday before the match versus Guatemala.  “We do this for each other,” he added.

During the interview  in San Jose before departing for London on Thursday, “Latas” touched again on the matter of his position as a player in the current campaign.

“I have mentioned that I’m 37 and it’s not getting any easier. But once the people want me to, then I will make the contribution but after all of this I don’t know how much longer it can be on the playing side. I never turned my back on the country but I have to make decisions that are right for myself and for the country. I don’t want to come back and cheat the country because I have had too many positive times wearing the national team jersey to go out on a bad note so I’m not going to let that happen. In saying so, I think I am still capable of playing and creating offensively and that is the reason that I am back even though I may not really have the legs to get around the way I used to.

“My decision was based on me thinking that if I can come back and contribute in a positive way which is what I wanted to do and I am quite happy with the team spirit and being involved again. I think if we can concentrate on ourselves then we are definitely still in with a chance of making it. We have two games remaining and in my opinion, the coach is in charge and he will play it as he sees it. But we must play to win and once we can concentrate on team Trinidad and Tobago, then we can get the results and of course we also have to look out for the other results because if Guatemala wins their two matches then it goes to them. But they have two difficult games so I’m thinking if we can get six points that will set us nicely for the playoffs and if that’s the route we have to take then so be it because the main objective is to get to the next World Cup,” the “Little Magician” ended.