Former Argentina striker Mario Alberto Kempes has thrown his hat in the ring to coach the national side following calls for a new person to take over from Jorge Sampaoli after the team's disastrous show in FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. "It is not easy to carry forward the national team because you have a whole country behind. But I would be willing to take charge of the Argentina national team," Kempes, who is currently an ESPN football analyst and commentator, said.
Kempes is the second Argentine legend after Diego Maradona to show interest in coaching the national team. Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup win in 1986 and coached the team which reached the final of the 2014 tournament, has declared that he is ready to coach the national side for free.
According to a report in Argentine news website Clarin, Sampaoli, under fire after Argentina lost 3-4 to France in the World Cup Round of 16 to crash out of the tournament, is likely to be sacked soon by the Argentina Football Association (AFA) although his contract is till June 2022.
But the neither Kempes nor Maradona are in the running to take over from Sampaoli. According to Argentine media, the names doing the rounds to become the next coach include River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, Ricardo Gareca, Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola.
Argentina started the World Cup in Russia disastrously when minnows Iceland held them to a 1-1 draw which was followed by the humiliating 0-3 loss to Croatia. The Albicelestes managed to record a win only in their final group match against Nigeria but it too was a hard fought 2-1 scoreline.
Argentina have played in five FIFA World Cup final matches - 1930, 1978, 1986, 1990 and 2014. They have emerged as world champions in 1978 and 1986, first time under the captaincy of Daniel Passarella and Maradona respectively.