Former national goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has called for coach Russell Latapy to play a key role in the development of national football on a long term basis.
Hislop said yesterday Latapy should be put in charge of the country’s Olympic team if he is removed as head coach of the senior team, with additional roles to oversee player development throughout all national teams.
Hislop, a current ESPN analyst was speaking after news that Jean Tigana and Ruud Gullit were possible replacements for Latapy.
Hislop noted that the local professional teams and their coaches have undermined Latapy and not given him their fullest support. “And that is because we’ve had many of the coaches setting their sights on the job for a long time.
They undermined Russell and I don’t think he deserved that.” Admitting that he had a bias towards Latapy with whom he played for several years, Hislop said the former international midfielder never had the full support of everyone during his tenure.
“Mr Warner said it was just in an interim basis and I don’t think it was right start he needed or deserved,” said Hislop. The former Newcastle custodian said however that he didn’t think Latapy would remain if he was offered the role as assistant coach. He called for T&T to start using home-grown talent. “Latapy must not be discarded as another country may benefit from his expertise.
It would be great to hold on to him but I don’t see it happening as an assistant coach. If you’ve been there as head coach then it’s difficult to go back as an assistant. The best option will be for him to take over the Under-23 team and oversee player development.
“I would like to see him involved with our football on a long term basis because I think we have ignored him for far too long as a football brain in terms of what he can contribute to the development of the game.
“We’ve let ourselves down in terms of prepping our players for international competition until it’s a mere month or two before and this is where he can play a key role,” Hislop added. Hislop said it was time for the T&T Football Federation to squash its stop gap measures.
“It’s the perfect time to focus on the bigger picture. We have to realise we are a small country and we don’t have anything near the player pool or resources that other top footballing countries do. We have to hold on to what we have. “For us it’s always been about the next World Cup and we’ve never looked beyond the four-year span.
We’ve never put a plan in place that can see us qualify on a consistent basis or if not qualify, at least have a programme in place that can see us enter a recovery phase immediately in a smoother process.
It’s always about how much money we can put in to try and qualify for the next World Cup. “We won’t start planning and discussing the 2018 World Cup until 2015. The timing is right now for us to stop that kind of approach if we are serious about our football,” Hislop concluded.