Latapy takes over as Trinidad coach

PORT OF SPAIN - Colombian Francisco Maturana has resigned as coach of Trinidad and Tobago with Russell Latapy taking over as player-coach on an interim basis, the country's football federation said on Wednesday.

Trinidad and Tobago are bottom of the CONCACAF qualifying group for the 2010 World Cup finals after losing their most recent match 3-0 to the United States.

The TTFF said in a statement that Maturana, previously coach of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica, had offered to quit due to "differences in opinions regarding the way forward" for the team.

Latapy, still part of the Trinidad squad at the age of 40 after spending the latter part of his career in Scotland, said he was excited to take over the team.

"I'm absolutely delighted with being given opportunity to be coach of my country's national team. It's something I've always wanted to do.

"Aside from playing the game and always trying to help my country, my main ambition was always to coach the national team, I would like to thank the Association for giving me this opportunity," Latapy said.

Trinidad have two points from three games in the six team qualifying group -- the top three teams qualify for the finals in South Africa with the fourth placed team facing the fifth-placed side from South American qualifying.

"The task ahead of us is by no means an easy one but I think once we can get everything together, and with the support of the nation, we can achieve our goal which right now is qualifying for the next World Cup," he said.

Serb Zoran Vranes, a former coach of Trinidad and currently in charge of the Under-20 team, would assist Latapy, the TTFF said.