National Under 17 Men’s Team Head Coach Russell Latapy has offered congratulations to the five teams from the Caribbean Football Union which have qualified for the CONCACAF Final Round of qualification for the FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup in 2017.
“Firstly I’d like to congratulate the five teams that have qualified for the next round and wish them the best. Unfortunately for us we are not among those five teams but I want to thank the players for the efforts and time they gave in the preparations and during the matches and to the staff and the fans who supported us, also to the Football Association for trying to give us the best preparation during the time in which we were able to have two training camps inside a month,” Latapy told TTFA Media on Thursday.
“Sadly it was not meant to be for us but I’d like to tell the players to not drop their heads. They still have the remainder of their careers ahead of them and there’s a lot of football to be played.
“But one of the things I think we can take from this tournament is the spirit which we showed which allowed us to come back in two of the matches. Maybe with a bit more time together things may have turned out better. We also would have to take away from this tournament the fact that there is a lot of work to be done if we are to to compete strongly and give ourselves a good shot at succeeding at the international level.
“What will follow now is we’ll have a proper review of our showing in the tournament and put measures in place to ensure the team continues a programme. Like I said before, one of the discussions I had with the President and with the members of the technical committee was to have continuity and programmes in place where we do not find ourselves having serious preparations underway just two or three months before a tournament but that we have a system in place whereby our teams are together on a more regular basis,” Latapy added.
The former National Team Captain also issued a message which he feels is critical towards improving the development of local football and it is centred around a change in attitude and work ethic.
“It is imperative for the progress of our football that we change our mindset because what is happening is we tend to react after the fact. The mindset has to be one where are committed to stopping the short cuts that we are accustomed taking,” Latapy said.
“As a nation we tend to take short cuts and then at end of the day we want things to work in our favour or we are always hoping it will work in our favour but in order for that to really happen, we must give ourselves the best chance by having proper preparation and doing the hard work that is required for it.
“And some of the little things that make a difference is the short cuts players tend to take in training during drills or trying to stay away from putting in the extra work. The coaches also have an important role to play in breaking these bad habits. This is something in our culture and at the various levels of our football that we need to change in order for us to achieve any level of success on the international stage,” Latapy concluded.
Latapy recently agreed to a two-year contract with the TTFA as Under 17 head coach and a staff coach with other national youth teams.