At the moment two-time world champions Argentina are perched perilously at fourth place above Ecuador in FIFA group standings for World Cup 2010 qualifiers. Top four will automatically qualify for the World Cup but if Argentina falls to fifth then it will have to face playoffs with fourth ranking team from North, Central America and Caribbean group.
In view of the recent past of the Argentinean team, if there is one chink in their armor to be pointed out then coach Diego Maradona would have to be the one.
Often it has been proclaimed that great player doesn’t necessarily, though there are exceptions, become a great coach. In the case of former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star Diego Maradona it seems so true. On personal level, he has had a history of drug abuse, health problems coupled with a volatile temperament.
When Alfio Basile resigned from coaching job following loss to Chile in world cup qualifiers in the second half of 2008 Maradona offered himself and took his place—an utter shock to many and despite large portion of public opinion against it.
He has never coached at club or national level except for small stints at Mandiyú de Corrientes and Racing Club in Primera División Argentina.
To aggravate matters further, he doesn’t seem to have much knowledge about coaching, how to put forward his own tactics and soccer philosophy.
He is getting his midfield wrong in an outdated 3-3-1-3 formation which isn’t working for them (in part because of forwards of small height like Carlos Tevez, Lionel Messi, and Sergio Aguero) especially after the departure of playmaker Juan Riquelme who retired from international duty in March 2009 after disagreements with Maradona,
Team is out of form and directionless on the soccer field, and, it is failing to convert spectacular talent at its disposal into game wins.
It will be sad if Maradona brought further ruin to an already under-performing team and also if it fails to qualify for the world cup in South Africa because Albicelestes is one of the most loved and followed soccer teams around the world.
Argentina’s soccer federation will have to go back to the square one and find alternative for its Head Coach if it has any ambitions to launch a serious challenge to win next year’s World Cup, which seems unlikely as of now. They cannot afford to lie back and hope that situation will resolve itself. It is just not going to happen and time is fast running out on them.
Team has home qualifiers on September 5 against Brazil and on October 10 against Peru while away games are on September 8 versus Paraguay and on October 13 against Uruguay.