The Trinidad and Tobago Pro League fraternity yesterday hailed the possible inclusion of 40-year-old football icon and national player/assistant coach Russell Latapy on the Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA roster and expects increased interest in this season's matches.
Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene, who played alongside Latapy in the famous 1989 "Strike Squad", welcomed his impending move to Caledonia and hopes that Trinidad and Tobago's other famous exports eventually follow his example.

"It will be a great fillip for the Pro League," said Skeene. "It is great to have our more high-profile players coming back to play in Trinidad like they do in the (United States) MLS. It would be a great addition for Caledonia because the experience of someone like Latapy would assist in the development of not just the players but the club as well and make them more professional.

"He could add a whole new dimension for the League in terms of fan excitement."

Skeene's sentiments were echoed by rival Pro League coaches.

"It brings added exposure to the Pro League," said CLICO San Juan Jabloteh coach Terry Fenwick. "He is a big name and the most popular player in Trinidad and Tobago so hopefully he will put numbers on the gates He is a marvellous addition for Caledonia and might pull one or two sponsors out of the woodwork (for them)."

W Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier, who is the most successful boss in the domestic game, heralded Latapy's return too, although he did point out a possible conflict of interest.

"Latapy is a player who I like and support and I think he will help to lift the League," said Fevrier, who played alongside Latapy at Trintoc, "but I also feel a national coach should be neutral and not attached to any club because he is part of the selection process. I am not saying this because it is Latapy but you are setting a precedent.

"I suppose things like this arise because you don't normally see a player/coach in international football. This is the first time that has ever happened to my knowledge."

Although the Pro League's top coaches are happy for the buzz Latapy brings, they were less convinced he would make a significant difference in the Pro League title race.

"I don't think he will have the energy to sustain a full league programme at his age," said Fenwick, "I think people underestimate how many good players are in the league and I think he will be pleasantly surprised at the level of football here. Also he is playing against the guys who are looking to get on the national side."

Bmobile Joe Public coach Derek King suggested Latapy's presence might prove as inspirational to opponents as it does to Caledonia.

"Latapy will bring more quality to the Pro League," said King. "But clubs would also look forward to play Caledonia and to play against Latapy. That might actually enhance the opposing teams."