Russel LatapyNational Team Head Coach Russell Latapy, this time in jacket and stripes and without his playing boots, guided this country to its best ever result in World Cup qualification in Mexico but described his feeling as “gutted” as the “Soca Warrior” fell 2-1 at the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday night.

The 40-year-old Latapy still felt  his players deserved some bit of applaud after yet another fighting display left them empty handed and bottom of the CONCACAF table on two points. Still in with a fighting chance of qualifying for South Africa, the good news is that three of T&T’s remaining five matches will be at home.

Victories in those three games and a match on the road to a Costa Rican team that should already be qualified for South Africa by the time we face them on October 10 means too that T&T’s encounter away to Honduras on September 5 could be a vital one. T&T’s round of matches in CONCACAF ends on October 14 at home to Mexico.

“What I asked the players to do what was to give a lot of commitment and work hard and I was happy that that is what I got in the two games. Still there is a lot of work to be done.

“We gave the ball away too cheaply against Costa Rica and we did it again tonight

There are still a lot of basic errors that we are still committing but I chose to look at the positive side. I’m sure that in our upcoming games, with three home games we have to play to win all three and that’s what we are going to do. If we can get those results then we are still in with a very good chance,” Latapy told TTFF Media following the loss in Mexico City.

Latapy couldn’t have had two tougher games to begin his tenure as head coach, one against the best team in the Concacaf at the moment and the other against a team that was always going to be favourites to win at the Azteca even in light of their recent lack of winning results.

“We know that coming to Mexico was never going to be an easy task. We said straight away that they would come out the blocks flying which they did. But we were able to get back in the game and contain them. We even created a few half chances but it’s always an uphill battle when you lose a goal in the first minute of the game and second minute after the break. But again fair play to the players... they battled back from that and created a few chances following the early goal. There were a lot of positives to take out of it and I’ll commend the players in the way they went about their business,” Latapy added.

“I think at this present time we will have to hope some other results go our way but at the end of the day we have five games remaining and I prefer to concentrate on how we will play and what we do. We are going to try and win these games. It has been a very two difficult games. We’ve possibly played two of the hardest games … just kind my luck that those were the two games that I got to start with,” Latapy said. “But that’s is the nature of football and we’ve just got to deal with it and get on with everything else.”

The former FC Porto player left for Scotland on Thursday morning to tie up some personal business before returning home next week. This has been his first opportunity to return to the UK since being appointed as head coach of the T&T team.

Team captain Dwight Yorke also returned to the UK on Thursday while the majority of home-based players who are involved in Pro League action on Friday, also returned home on Thursday. The rest of the contingent including some of the other overseas-based pros now in off season, will return to Port of Spain on Friday afternoon at 4pm.

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