Trinidad and Tobago- born Rajesh Latchoo, the head coach of the Dominica Men’s national team, is today still coming to terms with the horrifying experience of Hurricane Maria which followed Hurricane Irma that saw the island ravaged by the most powerful storm in its history with many buildings were completely destroyed and virtually none were left.
Latchoo, a former T&T Women’s Under 15 head coach and senior women’s team assistant coach, took up his role in Dominica in March of this year.
“If you did not know God was in charge before, you would have certainly known then. My wife and son were with me during the hurricane. We prayed throughout the hurricane.
We were frightened especially my son because at any time you felt that something could happen and you can die but for some reason there was always this feeling inside that God was protecting us and we would be okay,” Latchoo said as he recalled the life-changing experience.
“With one hand each from my wife and I on our mattress barrier, we battled it to keep Maria away from our trembling 4 year old son who was cradled in our next arm. As Maria pushed on the spring mattress, we pushed back. For God was our coach that night and he never let us down.
For all we could have done was pray. The most humbling experience for me was to know that when the day broke the morning after the storm, God was trying to show us that there was no difference between us...no rich man or poor man, black man or white man, just humans.
And if we don’t put our differences aside and work together to better ourselves and help each other then God may not be so kind the next time,” added the ex-Caledonia AIA coach. Latchoo returned to Trinidad last week to gather supplies to take back to Dominica and was also grateful to the T&T Defence Force for their efforts in Dominica since the hurricane. Latchoo explained that the main venue in Dominica, Windsor Cricket stadium, had been severely damaged.
“While in Trinidad this week I have embarked on a personal mission to gather school supplies for the kids on the Dominica national youth teams as I know things like school supplies and food items would have been lost in the hurricane.
I have been ably assisted by my alma-mater - St Stephen’s College and my boyhood club Princes Town Youths. Some schools reopen next week and I hope to fill at least one drop in the bucket when I return” Latchoo added. The Dominican Football Association, according to Latchoo, is making efforts to get its programmes up and running despite many of its staff and players suffering major losses.
“The people have showed my family and I nothing but total love and respect. They are a very kind and resilient people.
I am confident over time that they will become better and stronger that they were before,” Latchoo concluded.