Latapy's Last Lap

Date Published: 

Government Information Service, Port of Spain, May 12, 2006. In an unprecedented move, former national football captain, Russell Latapy, made a lap of honour after his 44th minute substitution in the Trinidad and Tobago/Peru friendly international at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, on May 10, briefly stopping play. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

The 37-year-old midfielder received a standing ovation from the crowd of about 20,000 as he jogged and waved after playing his last match before his home crowd. Latapy announced he would retire from international football after the FIFA World Cup 2006 Finals in Germany.

He made is presence felt in the game’s first minute just missing the right post of the beaten Peruvian goalie Leao Butron Gotuzzo. Penetrative passes and deft touches during his time in midfield brought loud cheers from the crowd.

Latapy, fondly known as “the little magician” for his tricky footwork, represented Trinidad and Tobago since age nine. He went on to play professional football at the highest level in Portugal and Scotland.

He was a nominee for FIFA player of the year in 2000 and was presented with National awards, the Chaconia Medal Silver in 1989 and Hummingbird Medal Gold in 1996.

Latapy and the Trinidad and Tobago football team, the “Soca Warriors”, were all honoured with medals at a ceremony following the game. The Soca Warriors were the last team to qualify for FIFA World Cup Finals 2006 in Germany after defeating Bahrain 1-0 in a playoff in November 2005. President George Maxwell Richards, Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Sports Minister, Roger Boynes, were present at the match.