BUENOS AIRES - Alejandro Sabella said he
had reached the pinnacle of his profession when he was
officially unveiled on Saturday as the man to steer the twice
winners to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
"The national team is the ultimate, we all dream of it,"
Sabella told a news conference at Argentina's training base on
the outskirts of the capital.
"As kids we play in the 'barrio'... and we dream of playing
in the first division, in the national team, abroad... then
you're a coach, you want to train in the first division and you
dream of coaching the national team.
"In this profession it's like reaching the zenith," said
Sabella, a former midfielder whose short club career as a club
head coach with Estudiantes yielded the Copa Libertadores, South
America's Champions League, in 2009 and a domestic league title
Sabella, assistant coach to Daniel Passarella at the 1998
World Cup in France, has succeeded Sergio Batista after he was
sacked following Argentina's failure as hosts to progress beyond
the quarter-finals of the Copa America last month.
"I want the team to be solid in defence, with a consistent
midfield. I want it to hold the ball and be aggressive in
attack. Obviously, that's the trainer's ideal. Then time will
tell if we can achieve this," the 56-year-old said.
Argentina, boasting some of the world's top forwards
including Lionel Messi, were deficient in midfield and at the
back in the Copa America as they sought to end an 18-year wait
for a major trophy.
They did not lose any of their four matches but went out on
penalties to eventual winners Uruguay in the quarter-finals.
Sabella said there would be little change to the core of the
team for South America's World Cup qualifiers starting in
October but he would cast the net wide.
"All players with technical, mental and physical aptitudes
who are fit will be considered. We must be generous. There is
something which is above everyone and I hope the players
understand that: the national team," he said.
"And behind them are a people who feel and [whose hearts]
beat. We must all pull in the same direction."
Sabella's first commitment is a tour of Asia with friendlies
against Venezuela in Calcutta on September 2 and Nigeria in Dhaka
four days later.
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