Sabella bids to restore Argentinian pride

Buenos Aires: New Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said on Saturday that he was determined to restore pride in the South American footballing giants as they prepare to open their 2014 World Cup campaign.

Sabella, who led Estudiantes to the Copa Liberatadores title in 2009, replaced sacked Sergio Batista after hosts Argentina`s Copa America quarter-final exit to Uruguay last month.

"It`s a great honour and an enormous responsibility to be coach of the national team, it`s one of the highest positions in the world of football," said Sabella.

"I never dreamed I would be Argentina coach, but I`ve had the help of people who told me that my time had come."

Sabella, who was assistant Argentina coach from 1994 to 1998, said that one of his main tasks would to be make people proud again of the two-time World Cup-winning team.

"The players must understand that the team is above everything, that we are supported by people who live and breathe football," he explained.

"The (World Cup) qualifiers are coming and we will need people with experience and personality."

He said that his immediate task would be to build "a balanced team".

"I`m a well-balanced person and I like balanced teams who have a solid defensive, a consistent midfield and an aggressive attack. This is the ideal of any coach, soon I`ll have to implement all of this, which won`t be an easy task."

"The team already has a base" and "there is a general agreement on what we should be and we can have variations but not much."

Sabella will name his first team next week with friendlies against Venezuela on September 2 in Kolkata, India and four days later against Nigeria in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

They will also play two games against Brazil ahead of World Cup qualifiers which get underway in October.

Bureau Report

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