T&T’s former national coach Everald “Gally” Cummings is backing his former player Russell Latapy to be given another chance at the helm of the “Soca Warriors” for the 2014 World Cup campaign.
Cummings, who guided T&T to within a point of qualification for the 1990 World Cup in Italy when Latapy was his star midfielder, said on Trinidad Radio on Monday that the T&T Football Federation (T&TFF) should take the safest option and let Latapy continue on the job, especially with a lack of financial resources being an issue.
His call comes just two days after a CMC Sport story in which Fifa Coaching Instructor Alvin Corneal, a former T&T player and coach, spoke against Latapy’s reappointment.
“It’s some years now since we have had such a long period where there is no national coach or national team in training. Normally you would still find a local coach in charge of the team.
“But it is obvious that the reason at the moment is that the TTFF does not have Jack Warner there to make that decision for them. But I would give Latapy the job and let him continue,” Cummings said.
“He knows the current crop of players well. He has been in charge of the team in the recent past so give him that chance to keep on developing a team,” Cummings said on i95.5 FM Radio.
Warner on Monday declared he was not in a position to continue funding the T&T Senior Team’s programme and the payment of salaries for the head coach.
Latapy is still in T&T at the moment, awaiting a call from the T&TFF to discuss his future. Reports out of Scotland on the weekend stated that there are clubs there keeping an eye on his status with the T&T set-up, particularly former club Hibernian FC.
Latapy is on record as saying his first love is country at the moment and he is hoping to get the chance to oversee the team on a long term basis. He was in charge of the team only for the closing five matches last year in their failed 2010 World Cup qualifying matches.
Hislop, Yorke in support
Some of T&T’s current and former stars have voiced their support for Latapy including Dwight Yorke and Shaka Hislop. “One would hope the T&TFF would do the right thing and give Russell the chance to get the team for a longer time where he can develop them and get them to play the way he sees it fit,” Yorke said recently.
“I think he came in at quite a rough time, not making any excuses but hopefully the right decision would be made for the benefit of T&T’s football and hopefully it can go in Russell’s favour,” Yorke added.
In a CMC Sportswire weekend story, Corneal, himself a former national coach, argued the 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.
“It’s not personal really, Latas (Latapy) does not have a history of coaching, and he has 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 said.
Latapy had taken 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 in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
The former national star, known affectionately as “Little Magician”, was unable to improve the Soca Warriors’ fortunes, winning just one game while losing five and drawing one as T&T finished bottom of the six-team standings with six points.