Batista eyes Argentina job


Batista, who steered Argentina’s Under-23 team to the gold medal at the Beijing Games in August, is one of the front-runners to replace Alfio Basile, who quit last week following the 1-0 Fifa World Cup qualifying defeat by Chile.

“From what I hear, I’ve got very good chances,” said Batista, who played in the 1986 Fifa World Cup-winning team captained by Maradona, now one of his main rivals for the coach’s job.

Batista is already set to lead the team in next month's friendly against Scotland in Glasgow on an interim basis.

“I don’t want it to be a test, but instead the start of something significant,” said Batista, adding that he would not want to work as part of a team led by Maradona.

“It’s difficult to be a candidate and then end up working as an assistant,” he said.

Former Boca Juniors coach Bianchi appears to be the favourite, and is a clear leader in the online opinion polls being conducted by Argentine newspapers.

Maradona, initially seen as a rank outsider because of his lack of coaching experience, has emerged as a serious candidate after repeatedly expressing his interest.

In another interview on Wednesday, former Argentina international Pedro Troglio said he been approached by Maradona and invited to work as an assistant if the former captain landed the job.

“Diego has gone through some bad moments and overcome them,” Troglio told Radio La Red in an interview from Paraguay, where he coaches Cerro Porteno.

“He loves the national team and, as an emblem of Argentine football, he deserves a chance.”