A much fitter Barbados senior men’s team are focused and ready to erase their recent bad fortunes, said national head coach Russell ‘Little Magician’ Latapy during the final training session held last night at the Barbados Football Association’s Wildey AstroTurf.
Over the past couple of months, the performances have not been favourable for the Bajan Tridents and Latapy said the team is in a much better place now and therefore want to start producing winning results.
“We trust in what we do on the training ground, we trust in our structure and the way we want to play and we think that it is going to bring us results. Like I said physically we are much better prepared now than we were four, or six months ago. I think I have had more access to the players at crucial times over the last four weeks.
“We have been able to improve the fitness level of players and obviously once we are fitter the decision-making process becomes a lot better. We are in a better place than we were four, six weeks ago and we are excited and ready to go and we want to erase some of the bad results that we had over the last two months,” Latapy told the media.
The senior men had their final training session yesterday before they depart tomorrow Friday for St. Lucia where they will contest their opening match of the Concacaf Nations League.
Competing in League B for the first time having been promoted from League C in 2019, Barbados led by Captain Hadan Holligan have four games to play in the space of 11 days.
The Tridents with a relatively young squad will open their Group A campaign against Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday, June 2 at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground. They then travel to Cuba for their second fixture scheduled to take place Sunday, June 5 at the Estadio Antonio Maceo Stadium in Santiago. Meanwhile, on June 9, Barbados will do battle against Guadeloupe who has qualified for the Concacaf Gold Cup a whopping 11 times while Cuba has done so three times in their history.
Latapy, who has the newly installed assistant coach Kent Hall by his side, expressed how good it felt to have some of Barbados’ young players return home from colleges and universities to represent the country. These include the likes of midfielder Niall Reid- Stephens along with Devonte Richards and Tajio James.
“Again we have a group of young players and we are excited about the potential of a lot of them and we can tell a lot of them are coming of age. Let’s see if this is the tournament where they can finally reach that maturity or if they need a little more time. But what I would say is that we have a group that is coming of age and I am excited to see what they can do,” Latapy expressed.
Former Paradise and Notre Dame Player Sheran Hoyte is also part of the senior national setup and will hope to play his first match at this level.
Hoyte said: “It is a wonderful feeling to represent your country, so I will just go out there and do my best and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
Noticeably a lot of familiar faces are not in the senior men’s setup, the likes of exciting attacking midfielder Rashad Jules, Thierry Gales who is currently in Barbados from Hungary and overseas-based strikers Nicholas Blackman and Hallam Hope.
Latapy in response outlined the reasons why these players are not currently in the senior setup.
“Unfortunately, Nick has an issue with his knee and we are wishing him a speedy recovery. We know that Hallam (Hope) has a thigh and hamstring injury that he is working through and was advised by this club that it needs rest. We have invited players that we think can contribute in a positive way, unfortunately, some of these players at this present juncture are injured, so other players are going to have the opportunity.
“My last conversation with Rashad was on a personal basis and it is not something I can mention. Rashad knows that he is the skipper of our team and he is always welcome once he is ready to return and train and contribute to the national team. Thierry Gale, we invited Thierry obviously he is one of our bright young players and unfortunately Thierry was unavailable for these games, we are hoping that in the near future that we can have him available to join the squad again,” Latapy explained.
In a wide-ranging interview, Latapy also shared that national right-back Carl Hinkson who in March quit the senior men’s team is welcome to rejoin the team if he so wishes.
“The door is always open for Carl so if at some point Carl wants to return the door is always open but we respect his decision and we have a group of players who want to be here and who want to represent Barbados and these are the players who we are going to take into competition. They are the players who have been training and going through the hard times and trying to fight through, so these are the ones we are working with,” Latapy stated.