Sat, Sep


Newly-appointed Soca Warriors coach Otto Pfister has rejected former coach Russell Latapy as a member of his technical staff as he begins his bid to take T&T to the World Cup in Brazil 2014.

Instead, the 73-year-old German who was officially unveiled last Tuesday at a press conference, has selected former national players and youth team coaches Anton Corneal and Hutson “Baba” Charles as his two assistants.

Pfister has also included former national goalkeeper, Jefferson George, as goalkeeper coach. Following his appointment, Pfister, a former Cameroon and Ghana coach, said he intended to work closely with local coaches and was looking towards his assistants being from these shores.

Since then, the German who left for United Kingdom on Monday to meet with potential European-born players with T&T parentage and  the other national players, has since made his recommendations to the T&T Football Federation with Corneal, Charles and George, the men set to join his technical team.

T&TFF technical advisor, Keith Look Loy confirmed Pfister had interviewed some local coaches last week and had made his recommendations to the local Federation. He said the positions would be ratified by the Federation before an official announcement is made.

Asked if Latapy, who took over the position from Colombian Francisco Maturana midway through the 2010 World Cup final round, was among those interviewed, Look Loy said he was not privy to say. “All I can say is that the coaches interviewed all had experiences within the national set up be it, senior or youth team level.

The new national coach has forwarded the names of the two assistants he would like to work with along with a goalkeeper coach and that’s what he wants.”

The news come a week after the Federation’s special advisor Jack Warner confirmed Latapy was offered the chance to serve as an assistant and had agreed. Warner however, noted that no one had the birth right to be part of the staff and the final choice was up to the new coach.

Corneal has served as head coach or assistant at every level of national team football, culminating in him being an assistant to Dutchman Leo Beenhakker when the Warriors qualified for the 2006 Germany Fifa World Cup Finals.

The 47-year-old Corneal, who was recently elevated to a Fifa Instructor, was also assistant to another German, Jochen Figge, when he served as national coach in 1995.

Four years ago, Corneal was the interim head coach of the Soca Warriors after Dutchman Wim Rijsbergen was suspended.

Charles recently assisted Bosnia-born Zoran Vranes with the Under-20 team during T&T’s failed bid to qualify for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Colombia after a first round exit at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Guatemala last week.

The 45-year-old Charles, who was part of the 1989 World Cup Strike Squad along with Corneal, also served as assistant at the 2007 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Korea/Japan under Corneal.

Two years later, under Vranes he was also assistant at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Egypt. During his career as a midfielder, the Defence Force member who was the recipient of a Chaconia Silver Medal (1989 World Cup Squad) donned the red, white and black colours 29 times, scoring nine goals, the most famous of which came against USA in a 1-1 draw during the 1990 World Cup campaign.

George, who is now attached to newly installed T&T Pro League club, T&TEC, last year’s double-crowned Super League champions as its goalkeeper coach, also had coaching spells at a number of other Pro League clubs as well as the current national Under-23.

These include, W Connection, Joe Public and Ma Pau. Pfister is expected to have a first view of the T&T squad on  the upcoming Fifa international dates on June 1 and August 10.

Pfister has already revealed he has no intentions of using half strength teams for the purpose of experimenting. The German already has a pool of 50 players and intends to put mechanisms in place for training camps, inclusive of local and overseas-based players.

The first training session takes place on Monday and will be conducted by the technical staff in accordance with the programme prepared by Pfister who returns to T&T within the week.