x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Alejandro Sabella confirmed as new Argentina coach

Julio Grondona, the Argentina Football Association (AFA) president, confirms the appointment of Sabella, who snubbed Al Jazira to become coach.

BUENOS AIRES // Alejandro Sabella, who reneged on a his deal to take charge of Al Jazira, has been confirmed as coach of Argentina until the 2014 World Cup finals.

Julio Grondona, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) president, told Fox Sports there would be no formal announcement since it had become common knowledge Sabella was being given the position after Sergio Batista had his contract rescinded following a disappointing Copa America.

Sabella, who was assistant to Daniel Passarella at the 1998 World Cup, is expected to speak to the media at Argentina's Ezeiza training camp on the outskirts of the capital.

"The details are being finalised but Sabella has already been presented [in the media] and will be coach from here ... until the World Cup in Brazil," said Grondona.

Sabella, 56, is the fourth coach to take charge of Argentina in five years since Jose Pekerman quit after the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Batista, who took over from the Al Wasl coach Diego Maradona after last year's World Cup finals in South Africa, was to have taken the team through the South American qualifiers and on to the finals if they qualified but Argentina's failure to win the Copa America on home soil last month ended up costing him his job.

Expectations had been high ahead of the tournament that Argentina, world champions in 1978 and 1986, would win their first major trophy since taking the South American title in 1993.

Sabella had a successful two years in his first job as a head coach with Estudiantes, highlighted by victory in the Libertadores Cup, South America's elite club competition, in 2009 and the Argentine Apertura league championship last December.

A former River Plate and Estudiantes playmaker who spent time in England with Sheffield United and Leeds United between 1978 and 1981, Sabella was the ex-Argentina captain Passarella's right-hand man at several clubs including River where they forged their partnership.

Their young Argentina team including Juan Sebastian Veron, Gabriel Batistuta and Ariel Ortega reached the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup in France where they were eliminated by Holland.

Argentina have not progressed beyond the last eight at a World Cup since the side captained by Maradona reached their second successive final in Italy in 1990.

Al Jazira are in the process of searching for new coach, with another Argentine, Gabriel Calderon, on the top of their wish list.