Former National head coach and captain Russell Latapy has expressed a level of optimism for the progress of local football and the local governing body, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.
Speaking a day before departing for Europe after holding meetings with officials of the Ministry of Sport and the TTFA, the former FC Porto midfielder added that there was still a lot of work to be done to attain the levels of some of other top nations in CONCACAF and outside of the region, but he was confident that positive change is ongoing.
“It is really appreciated. Like I said, it’s been a long overdue process,” Latapy said about the efforts of Tim Kee and the TTFA to have him paid outstanding salaries dating back to 2009.
“Mr. Tim inherited a situation that wasn’t his and obviously once he took over the presidency of the Federation, he knew there was a lot of outstanding monies owed to a lot of people. But in saying that, he’s been true towards me in the conversations that we’ve had and the commitment that he’s made towards me, and I really do appreciate that,” Latapy told TTFA Media.
And as to whether he believes the TTFA can continue the course towards improved operations and governance, Latapy stated: “Absolutely ! After qualifying for 2006, we should have never gotten to a place this dark in our football history. We are a small nation but the reality is we did. Again, with the President (Tim Kee and the Minister (Darryl Smith) and the way they are operating., I’ve had conversations with them and I must say that they’ve been very true to their word and that is a very positive sign. It is also a sign that everyone is pushing in the same direction which is forward. There are some other steps the Association has taken which hopefully will raise the levels in various aspects.”
Latapy also expects to see the settling of other outstanding matters and ongoing efforts to fix different aspects of the game, adding that he believes the current Senior Men’s Team has similar capabilities to the one that qualified for Germany 2006.
“It has been difficult for football move on with so many things hanging over its head. With the Ministry getting involved is really good, because with the group of players we have now and with the performance everyone saw on Tuesday night against the US we need to give the coach a good platform to work with and with all these things hanging over, it makes it complicated. But now we’re seeing positive steps being made which is good for the local game. And other areas will begin to feel the positive effects of this.
“We qualified in 2006 and we had fantastic bunch of players and we had a fantastic coach, I can see the same thing happening here. There is a fantastic coach and a fantastic bunch of players. We need to pull together as one to give them the platform to achieve everything that they can and this is one of the ways that we can do that,” Latapy added.