Soca Warriors interim coach, Russell Latapy and his assistant Zoran Vranes had their first meeting on the way forward for the 2010 World Cup campaign on Tuesday.
The meeting between 40-year-old Latapy, who was appointed to the position after the resignation of Colombian Francisco Maturana on April 8, and Vranes, 55, took place at the Local Organising Committee Office, Kantac Plaza, Arouca. Both Latapy and Vranes, who is coach of the T&T Under-20 World Cup-bound team, are expected to meet with Fifa vice-president and T&T Football Federation special advisor, Jack Warner and other members of the executive committee today to plan the way forward for both the senior and Under-20 teams.
The main topics of discussion are expected to be the preparations of the Soca Warriors team for the remainder of the World Cup campaign as well as that of the Under-20 team for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup Finals in Egypt. The involvement of the Under-20 team in the 2009 T&T Pro League will also be discussed. Contacted for comment on Tuesday’s meeting, Vranes said: “It was very important as it helped both individuals to exchange ideas and put in place some plans for the Soca Warriors as they look to resurrect T&T’s South Africa World Cup campaign.” With two points from three matches, T&T is currently joint with El Salvador at the bottom of the hexagonal group, while USA heads the table with seven points.
Following the conclusion of the meeting, Vranes said that it was decided that the locally based players will be expected to resume training twice a week in addition to training with their respective clubs. “We plan to let the guys train with us in the morning period while they train with their clubs in the afternoon. This will work well for me also as I will have the time to coach the Under-20s in the afternoon as well.” Vranes added, “Russell said he will like to meet with the local coaches of the players who represent the national team so he can discuss his ideas with them and see how best they can work together.
“Our intention is to have national sessions with the local players twice a week. Without doing that we cannot plan for our World Cup matches because the players need to get back in the habit of playing football regularly.” Asked if he saw any problems with his duties as Under-20 coach and coaching the senior team at the same time, Vranes replied, “First of all, I have already told him that I have no intention of leaving my duties as coach of the Under-20s. I see no need to undermine what we have going on. “The meeting also helped us to see how best we can work together because we need to prepare the players and the team in a better manner than what was done so far. He (Latapy) understands that very well and we are hoping to have the team or most of the local guys play maybe two or three matches before our next set of matches on June 6 and 10.
“But at the same time, having had the experience of coaching other national teams I think that my experience could help a lot as we work together.” With respect to the preparations of the Under-20 team for their Fifa Under-20 World Cup Finals matches against host Egypt, Paraguay and Italy, the Yugoslav-born Vranes said, “Everything is being put in place at the moment. “When we were in Egypt for the draw for the group matches we had a chance to communicate with a lot of the teams and try to organise some matches here at home and abroad.”