Former Trinidad and Tobago captain Dwight Yorke has hailed the appointment of Russell Latapy as Head Coach of the National Under 17 Team by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.
Yorke, a former Manchester United and Sydney FC player, spoke on Sunday about the introduction of Latapy to the national youth teams coaching set up with the former Glasgow Ranger midfielder also set to serve as a staff coach with the different national youth teams.
“I’m happy to see that Russell has been given the opportunity to get involved with the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago,” Yorke told TTFA Media.
“It’s no secret the love he has for the game and for the country. We all know the kind of individual he is and the amount of experience he has had as a player at the highest level and now the knowledge he has gained in coaching. This will all definitely put him in a position to make a valuable contribution,” Yorke said.
Yorke served as an assistant coach to Latapy for a short period when the latter was head coach of the Senior Men’s team during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. He believes that having Latapy oversee the development of the national youth team players can bring benefits to the national programme.
“I think it’s an excellent move to have him working with the youngsters and passing on what he can. Not too long ago he was still a player and his performances have left a life time mark on the game. And the young ones will definitely stand to learn a lot from him and be excited by it at the same time.
“As an ex-national player who has contributed in the manner that he has to the game back home, I know Russell still wants to give back a lot more in a coaching capacity. And I’d definitely want to wish him the best in his new position as the head coach of the National Under 17 squad,” Yorke stated.
Yorke, currently an ambassador for Manchester United, added that he intended to be home to witness this country’s Senior Team’s upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on September 2nd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium
Latapy is expected to conduct his first official training session with the National Team on Monday at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
Latapy has agreed to a two-year contract with the option of an extension and he will also serve as a staff coach for the other national youth teams. Part of his services will include conducting coaching courses. Latapy is the holder of a UEFA Pro License.
T&T will go into action in its opening Group A match against Haiti on September 16th at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. They then face Bermuda on September 16th and Jamaica on September 20th. Group B comprises Suriname, Curacao, Guadeloupe and Cuba and matches in this group will take place at the Ato Boldon Stadium.
The two group winners will advance to the semi-finals. Those four semi-finalists will also automatically advance to the CONCACAF Final Round scheduled to take place in Panama in April. The best third placed team will also complete the five Caribbean qualifiers for the CONCACAF Final stage.
Four teams from CONCACAF will advance to the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in India.
Photo at top shows Latapy addressing members of the Under 17 Team after observing them for the first time last Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium training pitch.