Senior national head coach Russell Latapy is confident that Barbados has what it takes to come out on top against Anguilla in their second Group D match of the CONCACAF Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking from the Dominican Republic where the qualifiers are being contested, Latapy said the Bajan Tridents have recovered from their 1-0 defeat against Panama and are ready to take on Anguilla Tuesday night.
“When we left Barbados coming to these two games, we knew that in terms of these two games that the Panama game was always going to be difficult for us.
“We knew that in terms of the Anguilla game we were going to be favourites based on the standings. We are looking forward to getting some points on the board. The players are really positive and we can’t wait to get going,” Latapy said during a Zoom meeting this morning.
There are some injuries still of concerned to the medical department Latapy revealed, and among those is attacker Akeem Hill.
“We still have one or two players still feeling strains and muscle situations that the medical department is working tirelessly to resolve before this game. If I had to say there is one worrying situation it would be Akeem Hill. The medical department has been working with him a lot. Hopefully, by match time, we should be able to get him to the best possible physical and match condition ahead of the Anguilla game,” he explained.
Against the Panamanian side who are mostly professionals, Latapy said it was hard for the Bajan Tridents to impose the way they wanted to play. But the coach is confident that against Anguilla Barbados can and should control the narrative.
He noted that both Barbados and Anguilla are amateur teams and therefore where his men are concerned, he was confident they would be able to impose their own style of play.
As someone who has played numerous World Cup qualifiers for Trinidad and Tobago and now sits in the position of Barbados’ coach, Latapy said there was no easy game in international football.
Therefore, the Bajan Tridents have no intentions of underestimating their opponents.
“Fortunately, I have gained experience by playing and being involved in six or seven World Cup qualifying campaigns and one thing I know for certain they are all very difficult. It doesn’t matter who you play against, you just have to go out, you have to work and fight for everything and I am sure this game is going to be no different.
“There are no easy games in international football. None at all. We try to stress on the players that it doesn’t matter who we play against, we go out there and give the best that we can give. Try to play the way we want to play and then if we can do that better than the other team then the result would come our way.
“We don’t underestimate anybody. I think it is a question of respect. The same way we don’t want anybody to underestimate us or take us for granted we are not going to do that. We are going to give the same respect to every team we play against. We are going to go out and work as hard as we can to make Barbados proud and to follow the dreams and potential that we think we have,” the coach said.
Referred to as the “Little Magician” Latapy pointed to the fact that there are a lot of talented players in the Caribbean and Barbados in particular. He believes it is just a matter of changing one or two elements in the way football is viewed.
“I think it is about changing our mentality, it is about correcting our work ethic. I think if we can improve on one or two of these things it would keep us moving in the right direction. Again, I would say we have fantastic players. I think it is a question of the players training in the right way, I think it is a question of the coaches being able to guide some of the young talents in the right way that they can fulfil their potential.
“I think if we can do this then we are definitely in a good place. And again, I have to say as well we need the support for some of these young players. The reality is and I mentioned it before after the Panama game. We have our expectation and I don’t know if the expectation that we have as a general public matches the support that these players get,” Latapy said.
He added: “We have players who are working eight hours a day and then they come into training and I as the coach, my job is to demand of them. But the reality is we don’t know in terms of nutrition, rest and that sort of stuff.
“We at the BFA, we are trying to put the right things in place but we also need support in doing this. It is not the easiest thing. So, if we can put these factors in place it gives these young players, these young talents a better opportunity to mature, to do well in a sport that they chose to play and then football is in a good place.”