Former Argentina boss
Alfio Basile was officially presented as coach of Racing Club on
Thursday in place of Diego Simeone, who has departed for
The 68-year-old, grinning like a youngster opening his
Christmas presents, clapped along with fans as they chanted
Racing would be champions with "Coco" Basile leading the way.
"We're going for the championship," Basile, a former Racing
player who has coached the team in three previous spells, told a
news conference, adding he had "come back home, because I grew
up here and here's where I was fed".
He said Racing, who finished this season's Apertura
championship this month in joint second place 12 points behind
runaway winners Boca Juniors, could not afford to lose more than
two games if they wanted to win the 19-match Clausura starting
"It's very good that Boca and Velez [Sarsfield] are also
playing the Copa [Libertadores]," Basile said referring to the
teams he regards as Racing's chief rivals for the title.
Racing won their seventh and last league title 10 years ago
Basile, who signed a contract for one year, will work
closely with Racing's new general manager Roberto Ayala, who
captained his Argentina side to the 2007 Copa America final and
retired as a player at the club from the Avellaneda suburb
earlier this year.
He said he remained keen to retain wayward Colombia striker
Teofilo Gutierrez, who is only holiday on his country's
Caribbean coast, but said he would not stoop to pleading for
Gutierrez, who has had problems with rival players and team-mates, has said he wants to play in Europe but Racing directors
are optimistic they can retain him for the Clausura.
"Teo was 'killed' [by critics] but he scores two or three
goals and they love him again," Basile said.
"It's good that he gets up opponents' noses [but] he must
avoid getting sent off and be smarter... I hope people can put
up with him a bit but I like him as a player."
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