PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC):Legendary former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder, Russell Latapy, has hailed the current national team, saying it possesses several of the elements required to be successful in the ongoing 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.Latapy, one of the finest talents to every emerge from the country, said the current team structure was reminiscent of successful past teams, and pointed out that the players appeared highly motivated to perform.”Every generation has its time and its place and its challenges and its rewards, but if I look at this young crop of players, I definitely see a hungry, successful bunch of players who want to do well for themselves and who want to do well for the country,” Latapy said.”When I’ve looked at a couple of the games, I see a lot of similarities in the identity of all the successful teams that we’ve ever had in Trinidad. When we look back … at all the successful teams we ever had, we had a couple things in common.”We had good goalkeepers, steady defenders, we had creative players, we had tricky wingers, we had goal-scorers and we were exciting to watch.”FIRM IDENTITYHe added: “I think as a footballing nation – which we are now – we’ve always had an identity and we would always go at teams, and play exciting and get the crowd involved in the game with the tricky players that we had, and I can see these similarities in this team.”Trinidad and Tobago entered the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers at the fourth round and have played unbeaten to date to lead Group C with ten points.They opened their campaign with a crucial 2-1 victory over Guatemala in Guatemala City last November before battling to a nil-all draw with CONCACAF powerhouses, the United States, four days later.Last month, they twice beat fellow Caribbean Football Union side St Vincent and the Grenadines, to take a huge step towards reaching the next round.Latapy, who was part of the historic national side which qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, said it was important that fans and the corporate community, threw their support behind the Warriors.”I’m hoping that we can get a lot of sponsorship for these players and we can give them everything that is needed and wanted in order to have a successful campaign.”T&T resume their qualifying campaign in September with a clash against Guatemala.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! School is too often the sole refuge for inner-city children – children whose innocence is continuously threatened by the chaos that surrounds them. In my five years as an elementary school teacher in South Los Angeles, three events have been etched in my memory as examples of the battles these young people have to face. The first took place in a kindergarten classroom. A young boy was disrupting the class with his frequent interruptions and stubborn refusal to remain in his seat. This in and of itself was nothing remarkable; I’m sure even Albert Einstein had his share of timeouts in the corner. What shocked me was overhearing the boy refer to another girl in the class as a “bitch.” It turned out that this 5-year-old child was reciting gangster-rap lyrics as if they were nursery rhymes. The second incident occurred during my first year of teaching. My wife was visiting my fifth-grade classroom one day and helping a group of students with math problems at a back table. The subject of jail came up, perhaps because the father of one of the little girls had just been released from prison. I’ll never forget my wife’s description of the shock on the children’s faces when she told them that she didn’t know anyone who had ever been arrested. The final scene involved a different group of fifth-graders. It was my first day taking over for the previous teacher, who hadn’t been able to control the students and left after only a few weeks. I remember looking at the handful of well-behaved students who were sitting quietly in their seats as I tried to discipline the rest of the class. I sneaked a peek at the emergency roster on my desk and was astounded to learn that these students were the only ones in the class who had a father living at home. The late Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in 1965 that “a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken homes, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectation about the future … that community asks for and gets chaos.” At the time, about one in four black children were born out of wedlock. Today’s rate is 70 percent. We would be foolish, however, to believe that this is only a problem in the African-American community. The Hispanic illegitimacy rate is over 40 percent while the rate for whites is quickly approaching 25 percent. This trend bodes ill for America’s inner cities. High crime, poor education and drugs have become seemingly intractable problems. But they can be solved – one home at a time. Having a male role model in the house can mean the difference between a future life of poverty and crime and one of success. This is in no way meant to diminish the role of the mother in a child’s life, but single mothers face tremendous challenges trying to juggle the responsibilities of home and work. It is essential for young children to see a male figure follow the law and stay out of jail, wake up every morning and go to work, and come home at night and treat his wife with respect. And the statistics bear this out: 71 percent of all high-school dropouts, 85 percent of youths in jail and 85 percent of all children who exhibit behavioral problems come from fatherless homes. Luckily my fond memories of teaching overwhelm the bad ones. Male elementary school teachers are almost in as short supply as fathers. For that reason, I am often looked upon as a father figure by some of the children. I feel like one, too, especially after seeing the relief in my students’ eyes when I follow through on something I have promised them. Or when they come and hug me as I walk across the playground. There is no doubt in their young minds of the importance of men in their lives. We shouldn’t have any doubt, either. Aaron Hanscom has taught for the LAUSD since 2001. Write to him by e-mail at email@example.com.