Russell Latapy chats with Lincoln Phillips (Photo: T&T Guardian).It’s Official !

 Russell Latapy is now an Assistant Coach with the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team and will move back here on a full time basis from the first week of January to take up his duties as the “Soca Warriors” head into preparations for their next 2010 World Cup Qualifying encounter away to El Salvador.

The 40-year old arrived in Port of Spain on Saturday and met with TTFF Special Advisor Jack Warner at his Concacaf Office on Sunday morning where terms and conditions were agreed upon and further discussions were held pertaining to Latapy’s role with the Senior Team and the Football Federation, which according to Warner, could see the “Little Magician” extending his services to the overall development of the local game wherever necessary.

The former FC Porto standout was delighted with his latest career move.

“I’m absolutely delighted. This is a great opportunity for me. I’ve always felt that there is a lot I have to offer in a coaching capacity. It’s a good opportunity especially where we are at the moment… with a chance to get to another World Cup and hopefully I can come in and provide that spark that helps gets us there,” Latapy told TTFF Media on Sunday.

“I knew from a very long time ago that I wanted the opportunity to manage my national team. That’s the highest level you can manage. It’s an opportunity for me to come back home and be involved in local football as well and see players and hopefully get them to the national team and improve their game and try my best to raise the whole standard of football in the country.

“I have to be fully committed to getting us to the World Cup so I will still have roots at Falkirk. I’ve spent five/six wonderful years at that club but the job at hand now is the National team. I will come back here and be home as much as possible and try to get us to a level that will make sure that we qualify

“I think that in the last round, anybody who saw the team would have seen we had a lot of talent  but I think there was a lack of organization and cohesiveness in the team and if we can put that together in the next few months then we will have a good a chance as any team.”

“We have to do our homework and know what the other team’s strengths and weaknesses but at the same time we have to know what are our own strengths and weaknesses and build on it. There are just some things I will have to bounce off the manager (Francisco Maturana) and hopefully we can come to an understanding and start working on these things.”

Latapy remains committed to offering his services as a player if needed.

“Yes! Obviously I have to be wholeheartedly committed to the situation. That’s the only way I know how to do things. So in saying that, if the manager sees it fit and I’m making decisions along with him, (whether) I’m needed to go on or start then I’ll be more than happy to do that as I’ve done in the past.  What I will do in the next coming weeks is to get myself in top physical condition in the next coming weeks so If called upon I’ll be ready.

“I would have to go back up and put my affairs in order. I haven’t spoken to the club about this situation as yet but once I get those affairs in order then I’ll be back down right away. Having come to an agreement with Mr Warner and the association… I can be back in the first week of January.

Warner also expressed his satisfaction on the development involving the “Little Magician”.

“I think what has been revealed this morning is the fact that Latas’ objective and mine were in sync. He had a strong desire to come on board as quickly as possible and  I had a similar desire in terms of what Mr (Oliver) Camps had asked me to do to get this thing settled. I want to say that because our objectives were in sync and our desires were the same it didn’t take too long for us to close the gap on our differences wherever they existed.

“We spoke at length on the team and I saw a very mature Latapy… a different Latapy. I saw a technician at work. He was able to identify some of the problems that are still bedeviling the team which he will addressed. He was given every belief that his role would not be cosmetic …that he will have a very authoritative role in the team and that all levels there will be consultations and collaborations. Therefore having been given that assurance he left very happy and in fact so did I,” Warner concluded.

The Senior Team resumes training in January and heads off to Argentina for a live-in training camp before heading over to El Salvador for the World Cup qualifier on February 11.

VIDEO - Latapy Interview.