Barbados senior national men’s football team will have a new captain as they gear up to play hosts Dominican Republic and a few days later Dominica in their second-round Group D CONCACAF Qualifiers.
Working as a unit will be the key ingredient for success said Barbados Football Association head coach Russell ‘Little Magician’ Latapy during today’s virtual press conference. The Bajan Tridents are working hard towards qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“For me the most important thing is working as a team, working as a unit. I think over the last two years we have figured out and determined the way we want to play. The way I think suits us better based on our strengths, our physicality and our technical plays.
“I think the players have bought in and I am quite happy with the way we are playing. We want to play with the football and again I think that if we can put everything together on the day it makes us a very good team. So, again if we work together, if we defend together, we fight together, I think we have a good chance to play against anybody in regional football,” Latapy said.
As to who will captain the team in the absence of Rashad Jules (not selected) remains a mystery for the time being as Latapy requested that he communicates this information first to his players before revealing it to the media.
The Tridents will go boot to boot against the Dominican Republic this Friday, June 4, at the Felix Sanchez Stadium and next week Tuesday, June 8, against Dominica.
Latapy, who noted that he has a desire to make Barbados’ football a force to reckon with on the international stage and in so doing move up the FIFA ranking, said he has confidence in his young charges to perform.
The likes of Andre Applewhaite, Tajio James and Nashton Browne have been handpicked by Latapy from the national Under-20 team to play on the senior team for the very first time.
“I am confident in these boys. They have put the work in, they are putting their best foot forward and that is all we can ask them to do. And if the time is right or the opportunity is right to throw them in the deep end, then trust me I would,” Latapy expressed as he commended Fitzgerald Carter, assistant coach to the senior men’s team and head of the Under-20 unit, for the great job he has been doing.
Latapy does not have the services this time around of lethal attackers Ryan Trotman who has contracted COVID-19 and also Nicholas Blackman who has not been released by his Israeli Premier League Club Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
However, the likes of exciting playmakers Thierry Gale and Hallam Hope are expected to deliver based on their exceptional abilities with speed and ball control.
“What I have always had with Hallam is a good work ethic, a great professional attitude and that inspires his teammates, so I am delighted with that. In relation to Thierry, [he] just turned professional and is still finding his way. He is here with the national team and is working hard, fitting into everything we trying to do and I am delighted about that. I have to say it is a team game and you know these players bring their individual ability into what we are trying to create as a team.
“So, I have to say that I am happy and quite comfortable with the process and where we [are] trying to go and where we were and where we are right now. Football is a game that things don’t really happen overnight, sometimes it takes a little time for the players to understand things a little better. Sometimes you have to find creative ways to get your point over and again I am quite comfortable at present.
“In preparation for these two games, we had some time to work at home on one or two aspects of our games that we thought we need to do better at. If you ask me if I have enough time doing it I would say no, but what I did have is some time to work on it and the players are getting an understanding of it and hopefully, that would manifest in the game,” Latapy explained.
Despite there being a few nagging injuries within the camp, Latapy assured that every player remains committed and focused on the goal ahead.
“Everybody is committed to playing in this game. I have played for a long time and what I can say is that it is very rare that you really play a football game at an international level especially after a long season where you are a hundred percent fit. But I think as a professional you learn to deal with these things and you learn to get through it.
“I think that one or two of the little niggles that we have are still there. The medical team is working on getting them prepared as best as they can but in reality, there is always going to be a little discomfort here and there. I am happy to say the players understand that and they know the show must go on and they are ready to give of their best,” Latapy stated.