He started his coaching career in the men’s game, leading the likes of Joe Public and Caledonia AIA and serving as a coaching instructor for the T&T Football Association but now Rajesh Latchoo is focused on leading a national women’s team to a Fifa World Cup.
His next quest begins with the national Under-17 women’s team which begins Caribbean qualification in St Kitts/Nevis this weekend.
The Princes Town-born coach is a student of the game and is continuously trying to broaden his knowledge as well as pass it on to other local coaches.
“It is a privilege to be at the helm of a national women’s team but it also holds a bit of bittersweet experience. It is not as ideal as I would like it to be in terms of resources and access to facilities,” Latchoo said.
“But as a coach you learn to adapt and work with what you have. It is always good to represent your country and contribute to the achievements that will improve the country’s image despite the challenges and setbacks. To me it is about proving that the diversity of our nation is a strength that knows no limit to what we can achieve as a people,” he said in response to what has led to his commitment to women’s football.
Latchoo was also the head coach of the Petrotrin Oilers team in the inaugural Women’s Premier League last month.
“The highlights of the job are the achievements of qualifying, seeing players improving and knowing that we are able to over come challenges and setbacks. The challenges all stem from the lack of recognition that women football is given. This causes financial struggles that often lead to preparation problems and most importantly affect that main product, the players.”
He believes there is potential for growth of women’s football in T&T.
“The potential is exponential. There is no limit to what the women’s football can achieve in T&T with the right support. When you look at the senior women’s team and you see how they continue to pave the way for the youths despite not having that support, it gets you upset to see the way they are treated compared to how the men’s team are treated. I personally believe that women’s football has a brighter future that men’s football and they deserve more recognition and support,” Latchoo said boldly.
“The more girls that play football at youth level means the more girls will be able to compete for a spot on the national in the future and we can ideally end up with 8-10 quality players for each position locally.”
Latchoo’s best achievement in women’s football was leading the T&T U-15 team to third place at the Concacaf U-15 Championship last year. From this weekend he leads T&T in qualifiers against host St Kitts/Nevis, British Virgin Islands and Dominica in the first phase of qualification for the 2016 Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.