Outstanding former Trinidad and Tobago player Alvin Corneal believes Russell Latapy is not properly qualified as a coach and should not be reappointed to lead the Soca Warriors.
Corneal, himself a former national coach, argued 41-year-old Latapy was not equipped for the position and should not have been chosen on the basis that he was a successful player.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) are currently mulling over whether to reappoint Latapy as national coach, after the country’s failed 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign under his watch.
’It’s not personal really, Latas (Latapy) does not have a history of coaching, he’s never been to a coaching course. It is not true to believe that because you’re a good player, you become a good coach,’ Corneal told CMC Sports while in Barbados recently to conduct a FIFA coaching course.
’If you doubt me, ask Roy Keane, ask Paul Ince, ask Johnny Barnes, ask so many of the guys who have failed these guys have gone into it because they felt they were good players, they found out that they were wrong and it can’t work. This is the case with Russell as well.’
Latapy took over from the embattled Colombian Francisco Maturana last April after T&T stumbled their way to a 2-2 draw against El Salvador, a 1-1 stalemate with Honduras and a heavy 3-0 defeat to the United States.
The former national star, known affectionately as ’Little Magician’, fared little better at the helm, winning just one game while losing five and drawing one as T&T finished bottom of the six-team standings with six points.
Latapy, who previously represented Scottish Premiership side Falkirk as player/coach, was expected to sit down with the TTFF to discuss his future with the squad.
’A lot of people think that he has been coaching. He’s been a player/coach for Falkirk [but] look where they are, down second to last in the Scottish tables,’ said Corneal, who was capped 119 times for T&T in a career that yielded 69 goals.
’I was not an advocate of it (Latapy’s appointment) [then], I’m not now. I like Russell as a person, he’s a wonderful guy and he would have been one of the guys that every time we have a youth national team going out I would send him as an ambassador simply because he’s got the image, the kids adore him and he would be better put to service in that way.’
Latapy has had a decorated career as a player, representing Portuguese giants Porto and big Scottish clubs Glasgow Rangers and Hibernian with success.
One of the most talented players to come out of Trinidad and Tobago, Latapy was part of the squad which made their historic debut at the FIFA World Cup in Germany four years ago.
The 72-year-old Corneal contended that in selecting the new coach, authorities needed to take a measured, rational approach.
’I am saying if you want to select a coach, select him how you select somebody that you’re going to employ, put him on that test,’ Corneal advanced.
’Let’s see the practical side of him, let’s see the theoretical side of him, let’s see the human psychology side of him, let’s see how he’s going to perform.
’You do not select him on the basis that he was a good player, you select him on the basis that he’s qualified and we have a number of young coaches that could really be qualified to be coaches.’
He added: ’They may not be great in the first instance but we have four years so if you put them in the fray now and give them exposure all the time you may just about find a coach.’