Football FanCast writer Rob Swan looks at Legend Diego Maradona's return to managment.
The sensational news that Diego
Maradona will return to football as national coach of his beloved Argentina
will delight, excite and confuse in equal measure. Arguably the most
talented player in history to ever don a pair of football boots, is
the Argentina legend really the best candidate to manage the Albicelestes
to World Cup glory?
In all honesty, the position seemed made for Maradona to eventually
fill. It was inevitable really, simply a matter of 'when' rather than
Equipped with a multitude of world class talent at his disposal, the
47-year-old doesn't necessarily take on the toughest job in football
by accepting to become Argentina's head coach, and with the support
of every Argentine who will continue to revere the former Barcelona
and Napoli man beyond his final days, he certainly won't be under any
intense pressure from the press in his own country – initially at least.
However, the move to appoint him may well come as a bigger surprise
to those not of Argentine decent.
Having virtually no previous managerial experience – but rather expressing
his own thoughts and opinions on the Argentina team vocally through
the media – the test is, without any shadow of a doubt, a major one.
For all his achievements on the pitch, which will always be worshipped
regardless of what might happen in the forthcoming months, failing to
get Argentina qualified for the 2010 World Cup would be unforgivable
for a country who see football as a large part of their own identity
The Argentina Football Association have taken a considerable gamble,
but know that they have a man in place with the passion for the country
and national team that provided them with two World Cup victories in
1978 and 1986.
Mexico '86 will always be remembered as Maradona's tournament. A series
of breathtaking individual performances and stunning goals lit up the
World Cup that year, and culminated in El Diego hoisting the Jules Rimet
trophy in the famous blue and white shirt. Now, all those in Argentina
will be hoping that history will repeat itself, albeit in slightly different
Whether or not Maradona has the discipline and tactical know-how to
control such a gifted side remains to be seen. One thing's for certain,
though, having the likes of Riquelme, Aguero and Messi to call-upon
can only make the job as a football manager a less fearful prospect.
With Jurgen Klinsmann, Marco Van Basten and Slaven Bilic all successfully
making the step-up from player to international manager in a shorter
space of time than Maradona, the diminutive Argentine knows what's possible
and will not suffer any sleepless nights in the days leading up to his
first game in charge. With bags of confidence and self-belief, Argentina
will have a man in charge who loves the country and the shirt and will
always do his utmost to ensure victory.
Never one to do things any different from his way, Maradona won't be
afraid to tread on a few toes as he starts his reign as Argentina boss,
and with seven qualifying matches still left to play in the South American
qualifiers, a few surprise call-ups could well be handed, and who knows
what interesting or unorthodox formations will be tried and tested.
Despite the personal mistakes Maradona may have made in his life, the
incredible turnaround he's made since suffering from a heart attack
in 2004 has to be thoroughly commended. Now back on track, the 47-year-old
has a new lease of life, and will be sure to take this new opportunity
with both hands.
With talk that the number of genuine characters in the game are dwindling,
today, football regained one of its most colourful.