This country’s National Under 17 Men’s Team will be taking the competitive international stage with the intentions of launching long, successful careers on the football pitch when they enter the field for tonight’s opening fixture against Haiti in the Caribbean Football Union Under 17s Final Round.
For the majority of the squad with the exception of W Connection midfielder Isaiah Hudson and captain John-Paul Rochford, the occasion will be their first at the international level. It is a similar stage that launched the careers of players like Kevin Molino, Sheldon Bateau, Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy and many others.
And Latapy hopes this is the beginning of a new chapter in their careers.
“This certainly is a big point in their careers. I remember when I was coming up into the system, of course back then we were playing at the under 12 level but when we entered competition for the Under 17s and the Under 20s, it was a very exciting period for us as players. It was what he had dreamt of and worked towards and it will hopefully be the same for these players today.
These are the future players that will represent us going forward for the future national teams right into the senior team. And from what I have seen, there is a lot of talent around that needs to be nurtured and this is what we are doing at the moment,” Latapy said.
“Yes the game is about winning and we are here to complete a job which is to qualify for the next round but we are also concentrating on developing these young men to be ambassadors for the country and to prepare them for the life ahead both on and off the football field. For me it’s a critical but also exciting stage in the whole process and I am very keen to see how the players go through this,” Latapy added.
T&T had a final training session at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium main field on Thursday evening while Jamaica and Bermuda trained at the Ato Boldon Stadium training field. The Haitian team was scheduled to arrive in Trinidad on Thursday evening.
T&T meets Haiti at 7:30pm and Bermuda takes on Jamaica from 5pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium. Tickets can be purchase at the venue, priced at $30 (adults), $15 (children) and kids under 5 are free.
For Interviews with Latapy and skipper John Paul Rochford and his teammates, see below.