Now we have a new coach for Argentina. Nicknamed “bigfoot”, Edgardo Bauza is tasked with reuniting the Allbiceleste in an era without Lionel Messi (and maybe sweet-talk him into returning), and maybe winning the qualifying for the World Cup. How he plans to do all that (including sweet-talking Messi into returning), is looking to be an interesting story.
In Bigfoot, we have a coach that is used to bringing previously underrated teams from the ground up. He has a wealth of experience in taking teams to the finals of competitions. All this experience, though, is not enough to bring the best player in the world back to a team that has a few ghosts of Maradona to live up to; they may be the best team in the world right now, but with or without Messi they are considered below par while compared to the Maradona generation. This unwelcome burden was part of what forced Messi to retire; it will take a lot of sweet mouth to convince Messi to let go of that guilt.
Also, the team has taken a huge hit in terms of confidence. They have lost three finals in a row, one alone can kill a man’s spirit. Three is enough to make anyone retire permanently; I’m still not surprised at Messi’s decision to bunk off at that very moment. That’s just more work for Bauza; and while this should not be a difficult task (Argentina is the best team in the world, after all), he has to prepare for the inevitability of a team without the best player in the world.
There is a certain competition coming up this month, known as the Olympics; and this is basically a pageant for young, talented players. This makes future squad selections easier; Argentina seems to have a pretty squad for the Olympics this year. I expect their team to make it to the finals; they did so in 2008, and they won. This is another opportunity for them, and if they can make it to that stage, Bigfoot should have no problems picking out a team that would give Argentines something to smile about again.
But the biggest worry about the new coach is the fact that coaches who made it big with clubs in the South American football world have not been as fortunate with national teams, or clubs in Europe for that matter. There’s Carlos Bianchi, who won everything winnable with Boca Juniors, then went to flop at Atletico Madrid. There’s that to remind us that not everything that glitters is gold.
All in all, let us not expect too much from Edgardo Bauza; he is good with clubs. Let us wait and see if he will be good with a national team.