Head coach of the Barbados Football Association Russell “The Little Magician” Latapy is always scouting for talent and looking to give the younger footballers some much needed exposure.
He made this clear during a press conference at the Wildey Turf, ahead of the senior Tridents outing tomorrow night in their third encounter in this year’s Concacaf Nation’s League. The home team is looking to advance to League B and for a shot to play in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Latapy said with the ongoing inaugural Capelli SuperCup he had the opportunity to see a number of the island’s footballers in action and was impressed by the level of talent he saw.
“The Capelli Cup is ongoing at this present time and I’ve had the opportunity to look around the country and see the players who are representing the various teams. I have invited a couple of players to join the squad to see if they can gel with the boys and see what level they are at in terms of intensity, because international level and club level is certainly different,” he explained.
The decorated former attacking midfielder said he had watched players like Ramon Griffith, Romario Drakes, and Zinio Harris among others, and noted that as long as a player was performing and “we think they can contribute in a positive way to the national team, then we’re going to invite them and have a closer look”.
“There are a lot of good teams in the Capelli Cup and I’m happy that I am getting the opportunity to see the teams and to see the players. When I look at the BDFSP (Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme) they have a lot of national team players and they’re a good team.
“When I look at Youth Milan, their organization and their philosophy of how they want to play, I like it. I am on board with what they want to do. I look at Wales and there are a lot of good players there as well, so I’m happy with a lot of the stuff I am seeing,” he said.
However, the head coach said there was still a lot of improvements to be made.
“. . . There are a lot of good aspects presently, but there are a lot of things that need to be improved if we want the standard generally to be improved. I don’t think a lot of the stuff is a question of discipline. I think it’s more a question of organization and if you put the right structures in place then the players will fall in line.
“What I would like to see is practices that are conducive to professionalism and international standards adopted. There is a place and a time for everything, so I am saying basically when you get invited to play with the national team and we’re preparing, do what is required. And then on your free time, do whatever makes you happy,” Latapy said.
He added that there were no “favourite” players that were picked for the national side, but rather the squad was always going to be chosen based on what happened on the field.
“The reality of football in this region is that we’ve always been great fans of attacking football. A lot of the times we think on the offence and we’re not too bothered about what happens back there. I think that is a direct link to a lot of the football in this region.
“So yes, when I look at the Capelli Cup we have a lot of deficiencies defensively and some of that spills over to the national team obviously. I would think we shouldn’t go and lose three goals away. As much as we’re trying to win games we still need defensive stability. It is a question of organization and structure. I honestly believe that in terms of structure and the way we want to play, that is really what wins your football games. I think individual ability is good for the crowd, but one player cannot win a football game . . . and it always has to be a team effort,” he stated.