Diego Maradona is going to be the next coach of the Argentinean national side, and personally, I am mighty kicked about it.
Can anything match the sight of a portly Maradona pacing the sidelines, shouting expletives at the officials and rival players, and jumping animatedly at the slightest sign of excitement?
Jokes aside it’s a bold move on the part of AFA and is a risk that is definitely worth taking.
The national side has been through a really rough patch the last 7-8 years and was going nowhere despite having a very talented generation of players. It’s been painful to watch such a gifted bunch mesmerize us one day and then fall flat the next day
A host of great coaching names have come and gone, each laid low by depressing results. While Bielsa and Pekerman were at the helm of disappointing World Cup campaigns, Alfio Basile couldn’t even last the qualification campaign. The failure of these illustrious names also makes it plain obvious that this team needs more than just a coach.
This team lacks a leader on the pitch. Riquelme can orchestrate the attacks but he is hardly a natural leader. The manager needs to fill-in for that lacuna, and who better than Maradona to galvanize the troops with his powerful personality — after all he continues to remain the biggest influence in Argentinean football.
The doubters will question his coaching credentials, with both his previous stints having ended rather unceremoniously. But there is a huge gulf between coaching Racing Club and managing the national side — and it is the enormity of the task at hand and the prestige attached to it that will bring out the best of Diego — a la 1986. Maradona loves his country and its football heritage dearly and will do anything to restore it to its rightful place. And then there is always Carlos Bilardo to take care of the coaching stratagem. They have created magic previously and could well do an encore.
There are also fears about his drug habits — will he turn up for training in an inebriated state and make a fool of himself during international matches?
I don’t think that will happen and the reason is simple — Maradona loves the game of football too much and is a different person once he is actively involved in it. He was an addict almost his entire playing life but football kept him going. The dependence on drugs and his subsequent deterioration also coincided with inactivity on the football front. Now that big time football is back in his life, Maradona will have fewer reasons and less time to abuse.
Argentina could have gone ahead and appointed another excellent ‘coach’. There is no shortage of those in Argentinean football. But they needed the ‘hand of god’. And there is only man in the entire country that has got that.