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07 Oct 2009 08:24
With Argentina’s participation in the World Cup at risk, coach Diego Armando Maradona was openly weighing his resignation as national coach this week.
At issue was not only open criticism of his coaching abilities but also the injury of Pablo Zabaleta, who annoyed Maradona with his insistence on continuing to play for his club, Manchester city, at a crucial time.
“We have two difficult [qualification] matches ahead of us. That really hurts,” the World Champion player from 1986 said, adding that such behaviour must stop.
“We can discuss after the [matches] whether I will continue under my own conditions,” he said.
Maradona’s anger was aimed at co-trainer Carlos Bilardo, who failed to block the deployment of Zabaleta with Manchester.
In addition, Carlos Tevez, who also plays for Manchester, arrived late on Monday in Buenos Aires.
The relations between Maradona and Bilardo have been on pins and needles for some time.
“When I was offered the position of national coach by [AFA president Julio] Grondona, I was the happiest person in the world.
“But afterwards, things have happened which hardly pleased me,” the 48-year-old football hero said.
On Saturday, Argentina faces Peru in Buenos Aires.
Argentina has only reached fifth place in the regional tournament, and Uruguay, now in fourth place, is hoping for a lame performance by Argentina, which intends to bid for its third world championship in 2010 at the World Cup in South Africa.—Sapa-dpa
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