No president, no football federation, no head coach, no players, no spirit, and nothing at all.
This is not a headline about the political scene in Lebanon. It is about the current situation of Argentinean football.
FIFA, headed by Infantino, has instructed certain names to intervene and fix the situation. But will it be fixed?
In summary, the nation which is sitting on top of FIFA’s football rankings, cannot have a decent football federation and cannot find a coach to take the lead. Pathetic…
With all the rumors and suggested names to take the vacant post(s), do not be surprised if you read your own name among the candidates. It is a circus at the moment and everyone is running like a headless chicken.
The most recent name to head the list of candidates as Argentina’s new manager is Miguel Angel Russo. You can google the man, but you won’t be impressed. Other names thrown into the fire or offered to sacrifice themselves include: Marcelo Bielsa, Diego Maradona, Nery Pumpido, Jorge Burruchaga.
Yet, the future remains uncertain for what once was a great footballing nation.
The steps to fix everything should start with restructuring the football federation, having a qualified president on the helm, and then appointing a real first team manager.
For the federation, I can only think of Juan Sebastián Verón, who is currently the chairman of Estudiantes de La Plata. Diego Maradona won’t be happy with such a suggestion based on his personal views about Veron, but his nomination seems just right. In a time where true men are not available to lead things, Veron can bring his leadership skills into the better of the federation.
As for the head coach of the National Team, the wishful thinking of having Diego Simeone, Jorge Sampaoli, or Mauricio Pochettino, is merely a delusion. On the other hand, the talks about Bielsa, Maradona or others should stop at once. Appointing someone who failed in the past or dreaming or thinking that someone who succeeded as a player will succeed as a manager, does not make any sense at the moment.
So whom would I nominate? I would like to see a coach who has a strong personality and has proven managerial skills and who loves Argentina more than the media and fame. I would think of Matías Almeyda as I yearn for his antics on the pitch, and I need to believe he can show the same spirit and personality on the touchline. I would die to see Roberto Ayala, Batistuta, Crespo, and some real Argentineans among the coaching staff of the new Argentina, but that will never happen. The one name that crosses my mind at the moment and may make some sense is Marcelo Gallardo. He is still young, and he is succeeding as a manager. It might not be the best idea for now, but no one has better options to offer.
While we are discussing names and drooling behind dreams, the future remains unclear for the Tango Nation. I will keep the faith and trust the next head coach of Argentina because I have no other choices, but I will be looking forward hearing the answers of the obvious questions:
- How will he handle the Messi situation? Will he prioritize talking Messi into reconsidering his international retirement? (I personally believe that Messi will be back into the National Team ad pull a 1993/1994 Maradona-esque return)
- If Messi doesn’t come out of international retirement, who will be the team’s captain?
- If Messi doesn’t come out of international retirement, is there hope that Argentina reaches some advanced stages in any upcoming international competition? Or will we have to wait 30 more years for World Cup glory?
- Will Icardi, Dybala, and other hot names be called into the team?
- Will he learn from previous mistakes and watch past matches to understand the actual roots of all the problems Argentina faced?
- Will Higuain be called again into the squad? (Any manager who calls Higuain to the National Team again, should be fired on spot.)
- Is it possible to find a game plan that actually emulates Sabella’s 2014 one, with the addition of that creative player who will link up the midfield with the attack?
The list of concerns, questions, and worries, doesn’t end, but I will stop here.
It is already more than 30 years since we last saw Argentina as World Champions, and it is less than two years for a similar moment in Russia 2018. My only hope is to see that again before I die.
My will to my daughters is: If Argentina wins the World Cup after I die, visit me in my grave and share the news with me.