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Rocke RibeiroFormer National Team right winger Rock Ribiero received a courtesy visit on Christmas Eve from FIFA Vice President Jack Warner at his La Brea Home where he was presented with a commemorative Trinidad and Tobago FIFA 2006 World Cup medal.

Ribiero, who turns 82 on January 20, and has been visually impaired since 1997, was in high spirits as he received Warner and ventured to speak about his footballing exploits and even offered some words of  advice to current day footballers.

Ribiero played during 1948-1959 during which time he stood out for San Fernando-based club Spitfire as well as the National Team. He was the first player from the La Brea area to represent the country at the senior national level.

“Everybody played as a team back then and the standard of the Leagues were very high,” Ribiero said as he conversed with Warner.

Asked for his advice to the players of today, he replied : “They must get their own ball and their own pump. I used to go to the ground and kick penalties by myself. Stay away from a lot of the dances and the smoking and alcohol. And always train because that is very important. And when you are playing football, you must never be selfish. Once you see a man in a better position then you give him the ball… that’s the way I operated,” added Ribiero, who was also one of the T&T Football Federation’s Centennial Honorees this year.

“And when you are crossing a ball, it must come hard and to the level of the head.”

He recalled a host of past greats he played with and against during his days including  Pat Gomes, Carlton “Squeaky” Hinds, Alan Joseph, Joey Gonzalves, Gerry Parson, Noel Daniel, Doyle Griffith and Ian Seales among others.

Ribiero even commented on the coming of Russell Latapy to join the National Team as an assistant coach/player.

“That is excellent. It’s an excellent idea. Everybody wants Latapy. My two favourite players of today are Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke,” he said. “I felt so proud when we qualified for Germany (2006) and I believe that we can do it again for South Africa (2010)

“I am very thankful for this honour presented upon me today. It was always a great pleasure and honour for me to play the game and represent the country. I want to thank Mr Warner for all his efforts. We have to realize his contribution not just at home but also out there globally,” Ribiero added.

Warner commented : “My intention is to have Mr Ribiero’s experiences documented because these are stories that must be told to the current and upcoming generations. I felt it was important to pay him this visit and to recognize him for his contribution to the game here.”

Warner:  Latapy here on the weekend

TTFF Special Advisor Jack Warner disclosed on that Russell Latapy will come into the country on Saturday to finalize his contractual arrangements relating to his role as Assistant Coach/Player of the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team.

Latapy will be here for only a short period before returning to Scotland. He will then return next month to rejoin the National Team for its build up to the February 11 World Cup qualifier away to El Salvador.

“He comes in on Saturday because we have to finalize his contract after which he will officially begin his duties with the National Team when he returns next month. I know he’s looking forward to it and we at the TTFF and all involved are also looking forward to working with him,” Warner told TTFF Media.