Trinidad and Tobago men senior team head coach Russell Latapy has indicated a desire to win the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup, and so has shifted his philosophy of using a locally-based team for the Digicel Caribbean Cup.
Yesterday, the former Porto and Rangers midfielder also reveal that he would rather lose Sunday's grudge match against Caribbean rivals Jamaica in Kingston on Sunday and have the Soca Warriors peak in time to win the Caribbean Cup in December.
And he hinted that to achieve that goal, several foreign-based players, including LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall may soon be given their chance to vie for selection.
Prior to yesterday's training session, Latapy met with local reporters where he addressed several issues. Starting with the call-ups for USA-based Yohance Marshall, Julius James, Cornell Glen and Puerto Rico Islanders Keon Daniel for Sunday's match in Jamaica, Latas said he would now use a blend of local and foreign-based players in his squad. Birchall could be one of those invited.
"Chissy (Chris Birchall) is a fantastic player, and is part of the plans, along with the other players who I think can contribute, Latapy declared. "Like I said before, every single player who is eligible to play for Trinidad and Tobago and who can help the team progress.. they in my plans."
Asked what caused his shift in attitude towards calling up foreign-based players Latapy said:"What encouraged that was results basically."
"We weren't getting results. We tried to give the local players the opportunity to step forward. Unfortunately, some of them didn't...... that is what prompted the return to invite some of the foreign players," Latapy said. "I think with the foreign players coming in it would take us a bit further forward because of the level they are playing at and their understanding of the game."
"The reality is that we have a way that we would like to play and that is what we are working on and all our preparation is geared basically and principally towards the Digicel Cup," Latapy said . "Apparently, from what was said, that is what I will be judged on, so my focus is the Digicel Cup, and I am working towards that. I would much prefer to peak around the Digicel Cup time, and not now. "
Latapy did not hide the fact that his job may be in jeopardy because of recent moderate results. Without going into details, Latapy told reporters that there have been meetings with both the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs about the current situation.
He also recognised that his position as head coach was a result-oriented one. But, he also disclosed that he and his staff were working under difficult conditions, due mainly to the financial state of the TTFF.
First, he has not been able to get a settled technical staff, and the ones he has, have not been paid for a year. He added also the desire to play higher quality opponents, but that too depended on the financial standing of the TTFF.
"The reality in our football here, is that we do the best that we can do with the situation that we are working under," Latapy said. "The staff hasn't been paid for close to a year." "It is the current staff of the national senior team.......almost a year," he declared in response to further questioning.
Finally, he said that he was willing to listen to many opinions, but ultimately will make decisions based on his football philosophy.
Latapy said that if he is able to get the team playing the way he wants, and to full potential, he believes that the results of the Digicel Caribbean Cup will be positive. But, he asked the relevant authorities for their support.