Latapy expects 'healthy rivalry' to continue
Russell Latapy, head coach of Trinidad and Tobago's senior football team, said his side was very optimistic and raring to go ahead of tomorrow's big return friendly international match against the Reggae Boyz at the National Stadium, starting at 6 p.m.
Latapy, along members of the Trinidadian squad, arrived in the island yesterday ahead of tomorrow's big clash between two of the Caribbean's most decorated football nations.
"We are very confident," said Latapy in an interview with The Gleaner, following a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation office yesterday.
"These are two of the biggest teams in the Caribbean and there is a healthy rivalry between them," he said.
"Yes, we want to win this game like we want to win all football games," said Latapy.
"As a coach, I leave the rivalry stuff to the fans because my job is to coach a football team to the best that they can, and to their highest potential," he noted.
The Trinidadians, who are ranked 97th in the world, were beaten 3-1 by the Reggae Boyz in their previous match, which was held in Port-of Spain in August. The Reggae Boyz are ranked 76th in the world.
Expects better performance
Despite their performance in the first match, Latapy said he expects a much better performance from his players because they love playing against the Jamaicans on their home ground.
"The last time we played against the Jamaicans here (National Stadium) they were leading us 2-0 and we came back to draw that game 2-2," Latapy said. "I think that most of my players prefer to play on the grass field compared to the artificial turf back home."
The Trinidadians have included four overseas-based players in their line-up for tomorrow's encounter. They are Julius James, Cornel Glenn, Yohance Marshall and Keon Daniel.
Latapy continued: "We know that Jamaica is a good team and we have a lot of respect for them, and I am sure that they have a lot of respect for us. It is always a healthy rivalry once we play Jamaica, and we are looking forward to this game."
Latapy, who is one of Trinidad and Tobago's most celebrated footballers of all times, stated that they would be using the match as part of their preparations for next month's Digicel Caribbean Championships.
"I think that one of these teams should be the victors in the Digicel Cup and so this game is more or less to feel out each other and to have an idea as to exactly where we are and how we play as a team," said Latapy, who scored 28 goals for Trinidad and Tobago in 66 appearances.
"We had a series of games recently and we are working on different aspects of our game and things seem to be coming together," he said.
"We have time and so we are going into this game to work on our preparations for the Digicel Cup," Latapy reasoned.