Tue, Jul

Following a telephone conversation with Former National Captain Russell Latapy on Friday night, the following statement was submitted to TTFF Media.

To the people of Trinidad and Tobago:

The time has come for me to both state my position and clear the air on various issues. There has been speculation regarding my intent to re-join the senior national team; my past and current commitment to the success and continued development of Trinidad and Tobago football; and my discipline while I was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago senior team.

The recent interest in the possibilities of me re-joining the national team has served as a double edged sword for me. In the first instance, it is very flattering (especially at my age) for such interests to be paid towards me; particularly by the public of Trinidad and Tobago. In the second instance, I have come under rigorous scrutiny from past and present members of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) administration, and colleagues; both of which I have and will always hold in high regard.

Firstly, it is great to feel so accepted and missed by the people of Trinidad and Tobago. I have done my best to be an exemplary member of the sporting fraternity and an asset to Trinidad and Tobago football. As such, it gives me great elation to know I have done this in such a manner that my efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Secondly, the history records stand to disagree with what has been and continue to be broadcasted to the public. I have represented my country from the tender age of eleven until my retirement at the age of thirty-three, and I have done this whole-heartedly for this period with no consideration to my professional career.

People have been making remarks that I am currently playing in a “Mickey Mouse” league(s), however, I would like to point out some of my accomplishments. I have won two League Championships and one Super Cup with F.C. Porto (Portugal); won the First Division and “Player of the Year” with Hibernian F.C. (Scotland); won the League and League Cup with Rangers F.C. (Scotland); and with continued perseverance and a bit of luck I stand to win the First Division with Falkirk F.C. (Scotland) at the age of thirty-six. I am by no means attempting to point any fingers, but I do ask that my criticizers look at their accomplishments both nationally (as representatives of Trinidad and Tobago) and internationally (as it pertains to the worldwide recognition of the Leagues and accolades they have received).

I have also read the column of an ex-member of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) now called the TTFF. I do not know who has given this gentleman (and I use the term loosely) the right to talk about me based on the fact that I have had very little (if any) association with him. As such, I do not know what he has done for the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago besides following the orders of his boss. Additionally, I am a standout in comparison to this gentleman based on the fact that I have been objective, creative, and an instrumental player in the recognition of Trinidad and Tobago as a great source of Caribbean football talent. Therefore, I recommend that this gentleman keeps listening to his boss, and if he has to keep criticizing me feel free to do so, because I have done all that I have to do without having to receive orders, ask any favours, and have done it all my way.

My intention at this point, as far as it pertains to re-joining the national team, is very straight forward. I believe that I would best serve my country as a coach. This is not an attack on the current head coach (Mr. St Clair) or his staff, but the reality is that my eventual retirement from playing is definitely approaching. With this said, I know that Mr. St Clair  has had great successes as a national coach both at the junior (Youth World Cup) and senior (Semi-Finals Gold Cup) levels. Evidently, his experience as a coach is different to mine, but rest assured that he was once in my seat (i.e. as a beginner), as well as were many other world renowned coaches, craving an opportunity and destine to succeed. Additionally, as a prospective coach I am aware that there are times that I may need to utilize the player/coach umbrella from a tactical stand point, but I believe that we currently have the talent whereby my playing services would not be needed.

With my intention stated, I do wish the technical staff, head coach, and the national team best of luck and God Speed. I have been in the game for a long time and since my retirement from Trinidad and Tobago football I have stayed away and never meddled; however, the wrong impression is being given to the public as it pertains to team selection and player commitment. In the past, if the technical staff is interested in a player communication began with that staff and it is up to the player to accept or decline the invitation. This was done to minimize the unnecessary proposals from any person who believes that he should represent Trinidad and Tobago. This is the format that I have been accustomed to and it is the most professional manner in which to solicit your player base. It has been said that I never contacted the current coach; this is true. I have never had to do this in the past as this was not my perception of the format of the TTFF.

I will always be available to help Trinidad and Tobago in my entire capacity as a national of my beautiful twin island Republic, but at the present point this entails the use of my other capabilities as my intentions state above.

As far as the other suggestions about my commitment, if my unwavering involvement of twenty-two years (22) does not count I do not know what will.

Finally, I would like to address the statements made about my indiscipline. I have been very professional in my decorum as a citizen and representative of Trinidad and Tobago. As such, there are no major incidents that I believe I may need to address. However, the fact remains that I am a public figure, and consequently mountains the size of Mt. Everest are being made out of mole hills.

I hope that this statement clears the air on all the comments that have been made about me, and I thank the public for not jumping to any conclusions without hearing what I have to say.

I love my country,
and I wish you all God’s continued Blessings.

Russell Latapy.