Football

The search is on

Pochettino and Simeone among those shortlisted for Argentina job

Mauricio Pochettino and Diego Simeone are among men Argentina want to talk to about the national team coach vacancy following last month's shock resignation of Gerardo Martino.

Armando Perez, head of the Argentine FA's (AFA) regularisation committee, also plans to talk to Lionel Messi with a view to asking the team's former captain to reverse his decision to quit international football.

The four-person committee, put in place by world body Fifa to get the AFA's house in order, was due to begin work yesterday after being sworn in on Thursday.

"They will take charge of administrating (the AFA) - which includes choosing a national team coach," said Fifa representative Primo Corvaro, who picked the committee members.

Naming a new coach is a matter of urgency with 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela scheduled for early September.

IN CRISIS

The cash-strapped AFA has been in crisis since the death of former strongman Julio Grondona in July 2014.

The situation reached a nadir last year when an election for a new president ended in farce with 76 votes cast by 75 delegates and a 38-38 result.

Corvaro said the committee would call an AFA presidential election by July 30, 2017 at the latest.

The crisis at competitive international level was exacerbated last month when Argentina lost the Copa America Centenario final on penalties to Chile.

Messi said after the match that he was quitting the team and Martino resigned a week later, ostensibly over problems in naming a side for next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The committee was set to begin interviewing candidates for the head coach's position yesterday.

Perez plans to fly to Europe next month because he wants to hear personally from Atletico Madrid's Simeone and former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli, now at Sevilla, their views on the national team.

Both have said their ambition is to coach Argentina and would be popular choices.

Perez, president of first division club Belgrano, will not be visiting Tottenham Hotspur manager Pochettino, another former Argentina player widely regarded as a future national coach, in London but plans to talk to him from Spain about his availability, AFA sources daily told La Nacion.

His last stop will be Barcelona for talks with Messi and Argentina vice-captain Javier Mascherano.

Meanwhile, Brazilian club Sao Paulo have claimed that Argentina have made an approach for their coach Edgardo Bauza to be their next boss.

Sao Paulo said in a statement: "The coach of Sao Paulo, Edgardo Bauza, received on the afternoon of Thursday an invitation to meet with leaders of the Argentine Football Association (AFA).

"Paton (Bauza) is one of the candidates to coach his country." - Wire Services.

"I said no to the AFA, they can do what they want."

- Atletico Madrid’s president Enrique Cerezo jokes about not letting his manager Diego Simeone become Argentina’s national coach

sportFootballmauricio pochettinoDiego SimeoneAFAARGENTINAmanagercoach