Julio Grondona came as close as he’s ever done yesterday to confirming that caretaker manager Sergio Batista will become Diego Maradona’s successor as Argentina boss on a permanent basis after December. Talking to Radio Independencia in Tucumán, the AFA president said; ‘There will have to be some very big difficulties in order for Batista not to continue as Argentina manager after the 31st December.’
It’s been more or less known that Batista was the overwhelming favourite to keep the job once he took charge, but now the president has confirmed his huge advantage over the other candidates from the horse’s mouth, as it were. Alejandro Sabella had been thought the AFA’s favourite for the position before Batista’s first game in charge – the 1-0 away win over the Republic of Ireland in a friendly in Dublin – with Diego Simeone, slightly improbably, also on the list. Today, the shortlist seems to be Sabella, Racing boss Miguel Ángel Russo and, for some reason, Américo Gallego.
All the same though, Batista is now very much in charge of his own destiny. If Spain or Brazil humiliate Argentina in their upcoming friendlies, some spanners will be thrown in the works, but otherwise it looks increasingly like Checho will be the main man for next year’s Copa América on home soil, and beyond to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as well.
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Photo taken from canchallena.com