Maradona to be offered new 4-year deal

2010-07-15 09:09

The Argentine Football Association says it will offer Maradona a

new four-year contract that would keep him in charge of the national team

through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, a spokesperson for the association, told

reporters yesterday that AFA President Julio Grondona would meet next week with

Maradona to discuss the offer.

This is the strongest indication that Maradona is likely to

continue as the coach. It comes two weeks after Argentina was knocked out of the

World Cup in a humiliating 4-0 quarterfinal loss to Germany. Maradona has said

little since then, keeping to himself in his home in suburban Buenos

Aires.

Cherquis Bialo said the association did not have another coach in

mind should Maradona turn down the deal. He also suggested Argentina’s

performance in the World Cup had been respectable, despite anything less than a

third title being seen as a failure by many Argentines.

Argentina won in 1978 and 1986, but has not won a major title since

claiming the Copa America in 1993.

Bialo said: “Fifth place is below what people here expect. But it’s

not embarrassing to an Argentine team.”

His mention of fifth place was a little presumptuous.

There was no playoff among the four quarterfinalists eliminated.

The losing semifinalists – Germany and Uruguay – did have a playoff game to

decide third and fourth place.

Public opinion is divided about the 49-year-old coach, who is a

national icon as a player who led the country to the 1986 title.

But he is seen by many as a poor tactician and an unqualified coach

whose main asset is cheerleading.

Argentina President Cristina Fernandez has publicly supported him,

and an Argentine legislator has proposed building a monument to honour

him.

Many of his players, including Barcelona star Lionel Messi, have

said Maradona should make his own decision about staying on the job.


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