Thursday, 10 September 2009

Do you have the cojonés?

Argentina are in a mess. That much is obvious. Two defeats in the latest round of qualifying matches have left them outside the automatic qualification places. The 3-1 defeat at home to Brazil was even more emphatic than that sounds, but the 1-0 defeat in Paraguay was perhaps more indicative of the trouble they find themselves in. Two games remain; at home to Peru and away in Montevideo in what looks like being winner takes all, the loser likely to face a play-off with a CONCACAF side. The way it's going in North America, that could easily be Mexico. Argentina are in trouble.

So what to do? The playing talent looks impressive on paper, but football is played on grass and, on that surface, the team has the co-ordination of Bambi on ice and that has to be the responsibility of the man at the helm, who just so happens to be a certain wee fellow by the name of Diego Maradona.

If Maradona doesn't fall on his sword - and he hardly seems the sort of character that would - the AFA have three questions to answer. First, is it worth changing manager with two games (plus that potential play-off) to go? Second, who would take over, especially with potential contenders ruling themselves out left, right and centre? And finally, which member of the AFA has the platinum coated balls to tell a national legend that he's sacked? And the third of those is perhaps the most pertinent. Even if the decision to change is made and a new man is lined up, finding someone to actually usher Maradona out of the door is the biggest barrier to change that exists.

Change or no change, there's every chance Argentina won't join the fun in South Africa next year such are the defensive frailties. There comes a point when change has to happen though, and that time looks right about now.

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