Head Coach of the Bajan Tridents is proud of his team’s showing in the just-concluded Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA 2022 World Cup and thinks all of Barbados should be too. But he remains concerned with the team’s concession of goals.
“I feel as though we are moving forward in terms of developing our style of play. The players are also executing and in these last two games we had great possession of the football and we played some attractive football and created chances. I am happy with that. It is a style of football the players are happy with, and all credit to them, they’ve bought into it and they’re working hard to improve themselves and make themselves better,” he said.
In their Group D encounters, Barbados lost 1-0 to Panama, won 1-0 against Anguilla, and drew 1-1 with Dominican Republic and Dominica at the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium.
“In terms of our organization and our structure, the whole trip to me was a success. When we talk on the playing side of things I am happy with the direction we are going. I felt in the last two games against Dominican Republic and Dominica those were two games we should have won, definitely the Dom Rep game because of when we conceded the goal, but we felt these were two games we could have won. We got our noses in front, but we weren’t able to keep it there,” he said.
Latapy has been touted as being the only coach in the history of Barbados football to feature a young team. In the final two games, Latapy selected seven Under-20 players. Andre Applewhaite made his senior debut against the Dominican Republic, while Devonte Richards and Antone “Pookie” Greaves made their debuts in the game against Dominica.
“It’s about developing our style of play. I think a lot of credit to the young players coming of age is to Assistant Coach Fitzgerald Carter who is also the Under-20 coach. They have developed tremendously over the last year and have worked themselves into contention on the senior team. If these boys are playing well, then they are going to have the opportunity to play. I am happy there are so many young players coming through,” he said.
He acknowledged the team conceded goals very late in both games, but also noted on the flip side where he said the team was creating more chances and were taking those chances which would eventually convert to goals.
Latapy said the high point was seeing the team transform their style of play but as coach he also had low points, the biggest of telling some of the players they had not made the cut.
“Sometimes when you have to say to these young men that they didn’t make the final cut or they didn’t make the team that is always a very hard part of my job. And for me that is always the lows because all these players whatever we ask of them they have been trying to do it and sometimes the reality is that somebody in your position is ahead of you,” he said.
Team Manager Cadijah Mars said there were more highs than lows coming out of the tournament.
“The team did well. I am happy with their performance and the level of discipline the guys showed in the Dominican Republic in the four games. They are very committed and hard-working. They give their best and there’s not much of that you can ask for. I trust the coach. I know he knows what he is doing and I look forward to the Gold Cup games coming up,” she said.
Meanwhile, President Randy Harris said he too was very proud of the team and their performance at the World Cup Qualifiers.
“We have to give kudos to the full team including the management of the group. I was heartened that this is perhaps the most disciplined team I have encountered during my years affiliated with national teams. This augers well for the future and the BFA at this time is in a position to manage the logistics in a much better way. Once we manage our affairs properly as related to the team, it makes life a lot easier. When the players are uncomfortable they will concentrate on other things outside the job at hand. I am very pleased about everything and I am looking forward to a good performance in the Gold Cup and hopefully, we can qualify for the main event. There are significant benefits for the team if they make it all the way and I am hoping for the best performance that we can go as far as is possible with all the things we have available to us,” he said.