Boca Juniors, the newly-crowned champions of Argentina, have been doing bit of re-jigging, but the key man will be very familiar to them. Monday brought confirmation that title-winning coach Carlos Ischia will be staying for another year, after signing an extension to his contract. The long-awaited comeback of another manager who’s had a teensy bit of success at Boca was also announced. And there might be a new signing to accompany him…
Ischia spoke on Radio Del Plata a few hours before concluding his contract negotiations with the Boca heirarchy, telling their interviewer; ‘the conductor of a group always needs to have a positive outlook, for the players to notice,’ among other pearls of wisdom as to how he succeeded with Boca this season. He also talked some fairly uninteresting stuff about how, since taking the Boca job, he can’t go shopping with his wife any more because too many people recognise him.
Carlos Bianchi, meanwhile, will be taking up the post of manager (that’s the word the press are using, not a translation of a Spanish term), which appears to differ from director técnico (the term I’d normally translate for British audiences as ‘manager’) in as much as he’ll act as a link between boardroom and squad… oh, I’ve written this once already. Both Bianchi’s appointment and Ischia’s contract renewal will be officially announced on Tuesday.
Bianchi’s return is reinforcing talk in the sports press of a solution to Boca’s current goalkeeping dilemma. With neither Javier García nor (spectacularly) Mauricio Caranta filling Ischia with confidence during the campaign just gone, a new goalkeeper is top of Boca’s shopping list. Colombian Oscar Córdoba, currently with Millonarios in his homeland, played for Boca between 1996 and 2002, winning three national titles, two Copas Libertadores and one Intercontinental Cup under the tutelage of Bianchi himself.
The 38-year-old told the media on Monday that he’d spoken with Bianchi about Boca’s interest in him. ‘[Bianchi] told me of the interest in me. I’m being put in a group with a lot of very good goalkeepers, so I’ll have to wait and see because the competition is going to be very tough,’ he said of his hopes of re-signing for the Xeneize.
Boca’s other goalkeeping targets include San Lorenzo’s Agustín Orión and Estudiantes’ Mariano Andújar – both complicated by the fact that they’re: a) not for sale, and b) certainly not for sale to another Argentine club – Uruguayan pair Fabián Carini (of Real Murcia in Spain) and Sebastián Viera (Villarreal, also in Spain), or, last but certainly not least, the idea of ‘repatriating’ former favourite Roberto Abbondanzieri from Getafe of Spain.