Fiji Time: 9:37 PM on Sunday 23 October

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Sabella works his magic

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

SAO PAULO - When Alejandro Sabella was handed the task of reviving Argentina's fortunes after a poor campaign at the 2011 Copa America, not everyone in his homeland was convinced he was the right man.

"I don't know why they chose him," said the country's legendary 1978 World Cup-winning coach Cesar Menotti. "I don't know what his project is."

Three years later, and Sabella's appointment is starting to look like a stroke of genius by his bosses at the Argentina FA as they prepare for their first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

Under Sabella — nicknamed El Mago ("the magician") during his playing days — Argentina have developed into a formidable side that is again punching its weight.

They may have won all their matches by just one goal margins but they have shown a mental strength that was singularly lacking four years ago under the unpredictable Diego Maradona.

Some have queried if the team relies too much on four-time world footballer of the year Lionel Messi but if that is the case it only goes to prove that Sabella took the right decision when he took over at the helm by swiftly installing him as captain.

Unlike some of his predecessors Sabella has not hesitated to tailor his team in order to make the most of the four-time World Player of the Year's talents.

The results have been spectacular, with Messi for the first time consistently producing his sparkling Barcelona form in Argentina's famous colours, with four goals alone at the finals.

"He's the water in the desert. He finds solutions when we think there aren't any," Sabella commented after the 1-0 win over Belgium in the quarter-final.

Sabella's rise to the top job in Argentinian football was a long time in the making.

He worked as an assistant to Daniel Passarella for several years, part of the Argentina coaching staff at the 1998 World Cup.

However it was not until Sabella was appointed Estudiantes manager in early 2009 that his coaching career took off.

Within months he had guided them to the Copa Libertadores title, and followed up that success by taking the 2010 Apertura championship — effectively making him a shoo-in for the Argentina job in 2011.

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.65020.6312
JPY 51.786748.7867
GBP 0.39950.3915
EUR 0.44950.4375
NZD 0.68980.6568
AUD 0.64760.6226
USD 0.49350.4765



Exchange Rate updated on 21st October, 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Death probe
  2. Love conquers all
  3. LTA warns on permits
  4. Times online uploads moved to 10am
  5. More nurses needed
  6. Ruci captures award
  7. Fiji to lead .5 degree challenge
  8. Hotel staff clean up foreshore
  9. Couple give books to cyclone-ravaged schools
  10. EU ready to help

Top Stories this Week

  1. Former flight attendant invests in farming business Wednesday (19 Oct)
  2. Calls for USP vice chancellor to step down Tuesday (18 Oct)
  3. 'I heard Soko screaming in pain' Friday (21 Oct)
  4. A daughter's sacrifice Thursday (20 Oct)
  5. Dad's cry for justice Tuesday (18 Oct)
  6. Rugby offer Monday (17 Oct)
  7. 'I never knew Soko' Thursday (20 Oct)
  8. Hero's welcome Wednesday (19 Oct)
  9. 18 workers on the run Tuesday (18 Oct)
  10. My heart cries out Monday (17 Oct)