Barbados’ senior national men’s team has hired retired Trinidad and Tobago midfield magician Russell Latapy as its new head coach, revealed Barbados Football Association president Randolph Harris during today’s press conference at the Wildey St. Michael AstroTurf.
The initial two-year coaching contract of 50-year-old Latapy means that BFA’s technical director Ahmed Mohammed has been relieved of that position and will now be responsible for developing national youth programmes and policies called the Future Trident Development Programme.
When Barbados Today enquired about the cost associated with acquiring Latapy’s services having coached ten years in Scotland and most recently as an assistant coach with the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Warriors, Harris bluntly stated “it is none of your business.”
“I would like to say that the cost of having this quality coach is none of your business. I just would not tell you what it cost. Basically, we have a coach here fully qualified up to pro licence, and he has worked with us, for us to be able to afford to have him here in this capacity,” Harris responded.
It was revealed that the BFA and Latapy were in negotiation from two-years ago. Now the contractual agreements have been finalised, Harris expressed confidence that the Trinidadian football wizard can steer Barbados competitively towards its vision of competing at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“Mr Latapy and I have been talking for the past two years about the possibility of him working in Barbados. It is not just a situation of Russell looking for a job; he has been very interested in our team and its development. He is happy with the talent that we have in Barbados, and he believes that he can take it to the next level. I think that he has convinced me early a clock that he would play a significant role in the successes of Barbados’ team now and in the future,” Harris said.
The BFA president took time to thank the technical director Mohammed for the job he has done working with the senior men’s team as a coach, saying: “He has been here doing some great work for us with our youth development programme now called the Future Trident Development Programme. I would really like to thank him for the year and a half that he has worked with the team. We can see some difference in the team, and hopefully, Mr Latapy can be able to take it further, and everybody in Barbados would be happy with the kind of standard that we exhibit.”
Latapy’s first official outing as coach will be this Sunday, March 24 when Barbados host Nicaragua in the ongoing Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Nations League tournament.
During his remarks, Latapy whose career spans over two decades with 81 caps for the twin-island republic said the Bajan Tridents were a bunch of talented players and he would ensure they continued to work hard.
Additionally, in his capacity as Barbados’ new head coach, Latapy said under his tenure any player with the ability to perform was welcome as the goals would be to improve the standard of football and help win matches.
“I have spoken to the technical director watching the game they played a few weeks ago, and I am happy to say that we have a bunch of players who are talented and not only talented, but they are prepared to work very hard. And I think for any coach if you have a team that is willing to work hard then that is half of the battle done.
“I would do my best to improve the level of the team and whatever I can do to assist in the improvement of Barbados’ football, and that would improve football in the region in general. That is one of our main goals to help improve football in this region which gives the young players the opportunity not only to play professionally but to improve their standard of life. Because this is what football has done for me and I would like to pass on some of this experience and give some of the younger players the opportunity to do the same,” Latapy said.
Present during the media conference was BFA’s executive broad member’s first vice-president Captain Al Walcott, chairman of the technical committee Adrian Donovan and technical director of the national team Ahmed Mohammed who all welcomed Latapy.
In keeping with the BFA’s motto ‘Better Football For A Better Life’, Walcott said during his brief remarks that: “I believe that it will be a good change for us, a Caribbean man coming to us with skills and qualifications to help enhance and improve the standard of football in Barbados and the region.”