National Under 15 head coach Russell Latapy witnessed a few pleasing points in his National Boy’s Under 15 Team’s first match since they commenced training just over two months ago as they came from a goal down to defeat a Republic Bank Under 15 Invitational XI 3-1 at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Sunday.
Using the match to official kickstart the team’s campaign for the 2019 FIFA Under 17 World Cup qualification, Latapy also had the chance to see what the opposition players had to offer with several of them narrowly missing out on making the cut when the former Porto man shortlisted his training squad following a weekend screening session with the best selected players from the various regional associations at Carapichaima Secondary in early February.
On Sunday, Adrian Bradshaw opened the scoring with a free kick strike to put Republic Bank 1-0 ahead before T&T drew level through a goal by midfielder Josiah Edwards. The quick fire start by both teams didn’t last for much longer than midway through the first half as the tempo dropped as the interval approached. Latapy introduced eight new players at the start of the second half as he intended to rotate the squad. The T&T team would go on to seal a 3-1 victory with goals coming from Jean-Heim McFee and late penalty from Tyrese Pierre.
“It was the right kind of game for the boys at this stage of the preparations,” Latapy told TTFA Media following the match which was also used to mark the opening of the Republic Bank National Youth League as TTFA President David John-Williams and Republic Bank’s General manager General risk management Anthony Subero met the teams before the start of the encounter
“It was their first game wearing a national shirt and having them out there walk out before the spectators and lining up for the national anthem and these sort of things is important for them to experience at this time in their careers. There is still work to be done. I remember when I had my first outing for the national team, what a special moment it was and my career grew from there. Hopefully it can be the same for these youngsters,” Latapy added.
T&T will participate at the CONCACAF Boy’s Under 15 Championship in Orlando in August and Latapy is also hoping to lead the U-15 team at an international tournament in the Cayman Islands in early May. During this period in May, the final round of FIFA Under 17 World Cup qualification will be taking place in Panama and Latapy’s other team, the current T&T Under 17 team men’s team, which got eliminated at the Caribbean phase, is also currently in training under his guidance’s they prepare for the 2019 FIFA Under 20 World Cup qualification.
“I think a trip like this for the young boys will be invaluable experience. It will be a good chance for the players and for the coaching staff to measure up against international opponents to see where we stand. It is also a chance for us to mould the team together and to see what is required looking ahead to further international competitions later down the road,” the former Glasgow Rangers midfielder said.
“It is very important for these young men to get some international games before we get to competitions like the qualification for World Cups. And having them in a good working environment on a weekly basis whether it be once or twice a week at this stage of the preparations is vital. It gives us as coaches the opportunity to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses and work from there, getting rid of the bad habits and also instilling good habits into them from a young age.
“And by this I am referring to good concentration levels, good discipline, tactical awareness, technical work, knowing how to treat their bodies right and how to maintain proper discipline on and off the football field also when it comes to their academic progress in the classrooms,” Latapy said.
Trinidad and Tobago U-15 : 1.Jaheim Wickham (GK) (34.Rashad Hart, 63’); 8.Ephraim Brown (23.Macai Peters, 46’), 4.Antonio Chee Ting (captain) (20.Tristan Caesar, 46’), 2.Tariq Mulraine (12.David Brooks 46), 16.Luke Savery; 9.Ezekiel Kesar (5.Jarique Williams, 46’), 6.Jabari Lee (14.Josiah Allen, 46’ [22.Nickel Alexander, 90]’); 21.Matthew De Souza (19.Saeed Pompi-Charles, 46’ [15.Isaiah Thompson, 78’]), 10.Josiah Edwards (18.Tyrese, Pierre 46’), 11.Jamal Lewis; 27.Justin Araujo (7.Jaheim McFee,46’).
Unused substitutes: 33.Keane Subero (GK), 30.Jumaane McNeil (GK).
Coach: Russell Latapy
Republic Bank Invitational XI: 1.Jacob Castillo (GK) (32.Jared Emond GK 32 [34.Alexi Toussaint GK 63]); 2.Nathan Guy, 5.N’Kosi Corbin (28.Aiden Dowden 90), 6.Daniel Lake (15.Jahein Aguilera 90), 3.Emmanuel Thomas (26.Dorian Jeffrey 46 [13.Christian Smith]); 4.Aaron Moruf (12.Stefan Auguste 46 [27.Jean-Marc Williams 90]), 8.Randy Antoine (16.Abrahim Abu Bakr 88), 11.Darian Bradshaw (17.Mamade Guerra 46); 10.Jaheim Marshall (20.Daniel David 37 [24.Aaron Young 90]), 9.Jael Manson (22.Darius Douglas 63 [25.Brandon Alves 90]), 7.Keron Manswell (19.Kaylon Taylor 78 [14.Khalis Toussaint 90]).
Unused substitutes: 18.Trent Weekes.
Coach: Keon Trim