Kolkata: New Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella, who arrived here this morning sans Lionel Messi, said he was determined to start off on a winning note when he makes his debut against Venezuela in their international friendly at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on September 2.
Sabella, who landed around 8.20am along with goalkeeper Estaban Andrada and 15 other officials, following an arduous 39-hour journey from Buenos Aires, said not only Argentina but the whole world expects to see the Messi magic.
"Messi is not only an Argentine star, but the whole world expects him to do well. As a coach, I would like all of them to do well and win against Venezuela," Sabella said at the team hotel.
Sabella, who rescinded a contract to coach United Arab Emirates side Al-Jazira to take the Argentina post, said the match assumes much significance to him.
"It`s my first match as an Argentina coach and means a lot to me. We are very excited to do well here. We are looking forward to September 2," Sabella, who speaks English unlike most in the Argentine squad, said.
The Messi-led Argentina side will play two international friendlies in the sub-continent, against Venezuela, and another versus Nigeria, in Dhaka on September 6.
A good show here in the subcontinent will put Messi and Co. in good stead ahead of their important 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Chile in October.
The 56-year-old succeeds Sergio Batista, whose contract was terminated by the Argentinian Football Association after the two-time world champions were eliminated by Uruguay in the Copa America quarterfinals on home soil.
The Argentines who started off from Buenos Aires on August 28 preferred to stay indoor at the team hotel as they took notes of the stadium arrangements from the earlier five-member delegation who arrived last morning.
The Albicelestes, as Argentines call their national team, got a rousing welcome at the airport with a small gathering shouting `three cheers for Argentina, three cheers for Messi` as they were taken to the team hotel near the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in a bus under high security cover.
At the hotel they were given a traditional Indian welcome.
As of now, the Lanus goalkeeper Andrada is the only player to check in while 18 others including Real Madrid duo of Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria will join him on Tuesday.
Though there is no official word on their arrival, Messi and his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano are expected on Tuesday or Wednesday night.
The Barca duo are held back because of their club`s La Liga match with Villareal today.
Five Argentine officials who arrived on Sunday visited the refurbished stadium at Salt Lake and Pernas Oscar Alberto, who had come on a recce last week, was pleasantly surprised to see its new look.