Fri, Oct

Time is running out. But it seems no one in authority is concerned. Maybe everyone believes that yet again Austin “Jack” Warner will wave his magical brush, and paint the name, Trinidad and Tobago into the 2010 World Cup Finals Draw in December 2009.
While our team is in Argentina, both the United States of America and Mexico are warming up for it’s match on February 11 against the same opponent—Sweden. Remember Sweden. T&T earned its single point at World Cup 2006 against them in June.

Honduras and El Salvador (our opponents on February 11) played each other this week, with Honduras winning an unconvincing encounter 2-0. My problem with the Argentina idea is that when our final XI is selected for our crucial fist encounter against El Salvador, only two or at maximum three of the players on the tour, may be in the starting 11. So then, what is the purpose? What is the benefit? What was the point? Was it air miles?
If it is that this time away from a Carnival crazy, T&T is meant to teach our players, discipline, tolerance and production, then let us hope it works and lasts longer than Carnival 2009.

On the other hand, if as I was made to understand, it was more, meant to be a meeting of the minds, between National Coach Francisco Maturana and his new Assistant Russell Latapy, then certainly, a cheaper more productive venue could have been found.

It may have been better to place both Maturana and Latapy in a small house, with no glass windows (in case there is shouting) and allow them time and a short distance to iron out whatever differences there are. And people, trust me, there are differences, whether it be in just football opinions on players, or just the overall philosophy (style of play) of football.

Maturana’s objective is clear, qualify T&T and he retains his job and earns a bonus, while Latapy’s is perhaps more idealistic—allow the world to witness a T&T flavour of football (a la Everald “Gally” Cummings). So without a plan in the present dubious circumstances and with inadequate preparations, our team will travel to El Salvador in need of not just a miracle, in terms of performance or attitude, but instead desperately looking for cohesion and attempting to avoid any apprehension, against possibly the weakest (on paper) of any of our five opponents. It is interesting, that not much has been said by former assistant coach Anton Corneal, who seems to have been sidelined. It is a pity that Anton has not been able to air his thoughts on being demoted to our junior team, without being given the opportunity to coach the senior team.

Many have stated that Corneal and Latapy would not have worked well together, but I disagree, Russell is a team player and a professional and he cares very much for T&T, he would not place our future at risk. So maybe the advisors or advisor got it wrong, this time and it should have been Corneal and Latapy (in whatever order), instead of Maturana and Latapy (with possible disorder). By the way, have we asked Dwight Yorke, our captain, what he thinks?

But then Yorke stood by and did NOTHING , when Russell Latapy was erroneously left out of our starting 11’s in Germany, so it might be asking too much of this talented son of the soil to stand up for his close friend Latapy ( for the first time). All of this is a test of character and will, that may either break or lift the spirit of two men, Maturana and Latapy, who are in an uncomfortable relationship. Some smiling for the photographers and cameras, some nods of approval, some high fives, all between each other cannot disguise the uneasiness.

We can all only hope, that the 11 players that will start the match, do not sense any of this on February 11.

My starting 11 would be:
Goal keeper —Clayton Ince
Defenders—Cyd Gray, Dennis Lawrence, Keyeno Thomas, Avery John
Midfielders—Dwight Yorke, Chris Birchall, Carlos Edwards, Russell
Latapy or Densill Theobald
Forwards—Jason Scotland, Kenwyne Jones