Interim coach Batista named permanent successor to Maradona

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BUENOS AIRES - - Sergio Batista, who has been interim coach of Argentina’s national team since the post-World Cup departure of Diego Maradona, was named the permanent coach Tuesday by the Argentine football federation (AFA.

A member of the 1986 world championship team alongside the legendary Maradona, Batista, 47, will prepare the Argentine side for the 2014 World Cup in neighbouring Brazil.

“The only goal for 2014 is to win the world championship,” he said.

Maradona quit as coach in July, after Argentina’s 4-0 destruction at the hands of Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals in South Africa.

Since taking the helm, Batista has lead the team to victory in friendly matches against Ireland and new world champions Spain but lost in a third friendly against Japan.

Known by the nickname Checho, Batista is quiet and reserved compared to the mercurial Maradona. The new coach lacks both the star power and the distractions of Maradona, who came to the job with the heavy baggage of a long list of personal tribulations.

Tuesday, Batista asked the national team players for “patience and calm.”

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, who plays in Barcelona, is closely aligned with Batista and reacted to Tuesday’s news: “There is no magic formula. (Success) comes through work, work and more work.”

Batista coached Argentina’s under-23 team to a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when he already helmed current national team leaders including Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero.

Argentina is scheduled to meet arch-rivals Brazil in a friendly Nov 17 in Qatar, before preparing for next year’s Copa America.

Filed under: Football, Olympic Games

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