Former Trinidad and Tobago head coach and captain Russell Latapy took a trip up memory lane when he journeyed to the Sogren Trace Ground in Laventille recently to witness the final of the T&T Football 7s Open tournament.
Latapy was a guest and met the members of both finalists, Mentor Alley and The Trace, later presenting the winning trophy and medals to the players of Mentor Alley which came away 5-1 winners.
The tournament was run over a one month period including teams from Gonzales, Mentor Alley, Crescent, Sogren Trace, Despers, Brooklyn, St Barb’s, Troumacaque, and Miscellaneous Laventille United.
Mentor Alley took away the $3,000 first prize plus a trophy and medals. Kareem Baptiste netted a double with Dillon Baptiste, Nickomi Griffith and Kester Hewitt grabbing one each. Hewitt was also named the tournament’s “MVP” receiving a $500 prize and a trophy with Lyndon Ferguson of Laventille United finishing the top scorer. Despers was named the Most Disciplined team and walked away with $1,000.
Latapy expressed his feelings on what he experienced on the Saturday evening the final was played under lights.
“I’m also delighted and I loved what I saw. I can see myself in some of these young kids that I see running around because this is where it all started for me. I was looking at three kids play with the football and it filled my heart with joy because this is me thirty, forty years ago just loving a football and wanting to play all the time,” Latapy said.
“This is a fantastic initiative happening in this community. There are a lot of people here supporting what is happening. This is where it starts, at grassroots in the communities. I hope more communities to start these initiatives.
“I can say for myself and I would take the liberty to speak for the Association (TTFA) that we will definitely support initiatives like this because this is what football is about… the love for the game and this is what I saw,” the former Porto player added.
Latapy also said he was excited about the Miscellaneous Laventille United team campaigning in the Northern FA Premier Division in 2017.
“First of all I want to wish them well and I am excited to see what they can put on. There are a lot of talented people here who wants and needs the opportunity and the platform where they can progress and move forward in football and life. Initiatives like this can create that for them. I would lend my support wherever I can,” Latapy said.
Latapy also took the opportunity to extend best wishes to Dennis Lawrence, a product of Coconut Drive, Morvant, on his duties as head coach of the Men’s Senior Team.
“I have all confidence in Dennis. He has always been a stalwart of Trinidad and Tobago football and I am certain he is going to do the best that he can, Success depends on a lot of different factors and for Dennis to be successful does not only depend on him but it depends on the football fraternity giving Dennis the support that is needed for him to achieve that success.
“As I’ve said before, Dennis knows that he has my total support and confidence. We know that he has a very difficult job to do but we are here to support him,” Latapy said.