A little rivalry goes a long way, and head coach of the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) Senior Men’s National football team Russell Latapy is hoping to use that to their advantage on Saturday, when they go up against USVI in their third Concacaf Nation’s League matchup.
The senior Tridents have in the past defeated USVI at every opportunity and word on the ground is all bets are on the home side to secure a 6-0 or 7-0 victory against the visitors.
“I don’t know about 6-0 or 7-0. We know that we treat every opponent with the respect we want to be treated with. We love and we relish that every time we can play a game if it’s a derby game like this particular one whereby there is a little tension between the two nations, then that type of atmosphere is the one we want to play in and excel.
“Me personally, I would be happy with three points if that is by scoring one goal or if it’s by scoring four goals or how many ever. The most important thing to keep us alive in this tournament is that we get a victory. With our lost to the Cayman Islands, they are sitting in the driver’s seat now and we are not in a position where we can drop any more points at all,” Latapy said in an interview at the BFA’s Wildey Turf following one of their routine two-hour training sessions.
Barbados currently sit on three points behind the Cayman Islands who lead the group with six points after two games each. Bringing up the rear are USVI, who are also on three points, and (French) Saint Martin who are yet to register any points.
After defeating Saint-Martin 2-1, USVI would be out for blood having pocketed their goals in the first five minutes of the game. However, they went down 2-0 to Cayman Islands days prior.
The last time the Bajan Tridents met USVI was during their third game of last year’s Concacaf Nations League Qualifiers. They won 3-0 with goals from Hadan Holligan, utility man Raheim Sargeant and former national captain Mario Harte, who had only just returned following a ten-month suspension.
However, this time Harte will not be in the starting 11 when the home side continue on their group phase quest in the Nations League Games and a shot at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“We are working on a particular way that we want to play with an organizational structure that would assist them. It is a process and I think that we are moving forward in that process. Hopefully, this can be a game we can show everyone where we are at, the direction we are going in and we can come out with a favorable result,” Latapy said.
The local lads defeated (French) Saint Martin 4-0 at home early last month, before losing 3-2 to Cayman Islands Turtles a few days later. Following that game, Latapy had said the team needed to correct the basic errors they continued to make.
“We’re still working on it every chance we get. We know that the Capelli Cup is presently going on and we have to give the players time with their clubs. When we get them back from their clubs we have to give them time to recover before we work too much with them, but we’ve had a couple of training days and we are improving on our craft.
“The two major issues with the Cayman Islands is that obviously we weren’t solid in defense and we weren’t efficient enough in capitalizing in scoring the chances we were creating. These are two major issues that when we returned we were working on having resolved and we have had a steady improvement in both areas,” he assured.
He added: “I think as a coach you’re never entirely happy with the situation you find yourself in, but the good thing is once you’re making progress then you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that is where we are at present.”