Argentina Calls for its hero: Will He Answer the Call?

Alejandro MullerCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2008

A God, a legend, a phenom.

All those words are used on a daily basis to describe Diego Maradona in Argentina. He is the single most beloved sports star in the country. And now, 22 years after lifting the World Cup trophy, "El Diego" has been called upon to guide the national team into South Africa 2010.

So what's the problem? Maybe one too many.

There are brilliant players, great players, even legends, and then there is Maradona, who along with Pele has been at a level throughout the years that has not been matched.

But who says this will make him a good coach? Argentina is desperate because their national team, packed with superstars, has played mediocre football throughout the qualifiers. So they take their God, their idol, their media sweetheart, and put him in a position where possibilities of him failing are frighteningly high.

It's not a bad move, it's not a good move; right now, it's just a move. But with the appointment of Maradona as head coach, the two time world champions are following in the foot steps of their hated neighbour Brazil, who after failing in the World Cup hired living legend and 1994 captain Dunga to guide them.

Dunga and Maradona cannot be compared, but the situations are very alike.

At the time of his hiring, the Brazilian had no coaching experience, he got the job for what he had done as a player. Now the press and the public are begging for a coaching change. Maradona, like his neighbour, gets the job for what he did on the field. It's like appointing the bellboy to run the hotel because he's the best at carrying bags.

It has been proved time and again that what players do on the field has nothing to do with their coaching abilities. Most great coaches either didn't play or were mediocre players at best. Ronald Koeman is another example of a former great player who has gone on to fail as a coach.  

In Argentina, everyone adores Maradona. People talk about him like he's not human, like he's untouchable. He's the best and then there's everyone else in Argentines' minds. So why? why put him in a position where it all could come crumbling down in a matter of months?

He should at least have coached Boca Juniors to get a taste of the action from the sidelines. Now, if he doesn't do as a coach what he did as a player, it will be an automatic failure.

Coaches should be role models, and what right will he have to scold a player when he gets caught cheating or doing drugs? Perhaps that is the most important question to ponder.