ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES —— Carlos Bianchi, most successful coach in the history of Boca Juniors, is on the brink of dismissal.
PresIdent Daniel Angelici has handed him a virtual ultimatum by saying “If they don’t win, it’s very difficult to renew the contact of a coach.” Of course, this just adds to the confusion at the Bombonera and does nothing to help the coaching staff or players to work through their problems.
Carlos Bianchi: plenty of titles but not much time
Bianchi’s contract runs until the middle of next year when the season ends but speculation is already alive that Boca’s next coach will be Martín Palermo or Guillermo Barrios Schelotto, former club idols now coaching Godoy Cruz and Lanús respectively.
Angelici, one presumes, is well aware of the fact that there have been 56 players injured during this season and with such a handicap, no coach can be expected to do wonders.
Angelici must also be aware that, at joint fifth, Boca have been challenging for the title in spite of this handicap. With teams above them still showing erratic form, they continue to hold a small title chance, being five points from the top with six points to play.
Bianchi’s is clearly not suddenly a bad coach, considering all the titles his teams won. Yet he must be partly responsible, with the committee, of having shifted out the wrong players and signed the wrong replacements.
For example, midfielder Leandro Somoza (even chosen for the national team this year) and strikers Lautaro Acosta and Santiago Silva were surplus to requirements and snapped up by Lanús where they are playing better than they did at Boca Juniors. Midfielder Nicolás Colazo was loaned out to All Boys and was instrumental in that club beating Boca Juniors last wee-end. Now Bianchi wants him back.
We always say that if a player is good, he cannot be bad at another club. It depends on a lot of factors (system, psychology, regualr playing chances, coach, etc.).
Now Boca hint at two more mistakes by selling good players — midfielder Juan Sánchez Miño and striker Nicolás Blandi. Actually, both players now want to leave for not getting enough first team games, but they would be needed, specially if Boca want to be successful in more than one competition.
Also wanting to leave are Cristian Erbes, a useful midfielder, and defender Guillermo Burdisso who has not done so well in a faltering defence, but this is another case of a player having done well at another club.
Other mysteries are equally difficult to explain. The players in the team, in spite of the injured absentees, are not so bad as the team plays and the coach must have something to do with it. The injuries are more difficult to explain, except that the club acquired injured players such as international Fernando Gago and others who may not have had throrough enough medical exams before signing.
The physical training staff has been blamed. Perhaps, training methods are wrong to produce so many muscle strains and muscle fatigue. These can be caused by actual fatigue, wrong food, not enough rest and stress apart from possible other reasons.
Fatigue can be caused by over-training and over-playing and should be fixed. The club says players have breakfast and lunch at the club and the training staff must know the right food to give them.
But what about the evening? Argentinians are known to eat a lot late at night, with fatty meat (bad for digestion) and often go to bed late. not sleeping enough. It is known, even at the club, to have barbecues. Stress can be caused at the club or at home and must be controlled (by a psychologist).
Finally, the player himself must show discipline. But the wrong diet comes from an early age as mentioned in the past — a cup of coffee and perhaps a bun, a light lunch or a too heavy one and a big meal late at night. All wrong! he club says it is finishing a new laboratory which will be the best in South America. Priding itself as one of the top clubs on the continent, it should have had this before.
Diaz owns up
In last week’s column, one of coach Ramón Diaz’s mistakes mentioned was that he continually changed the team week after week. Now he has confessed that this was one of his biggest mistakes. “It shouldn´t happen. One has to have confidence in a player,” he said. He realized it too late. The Initial Championship is almost over and River Plate are jointly next to bottom.
The club’s balance sheet was approved and showed an even higher loss of 60,5 million peos than anticipated. Last year, the sale of Rogelio Funes Mori (34,3 million pesos) was included in the balance sheet although it had not actually gone through at the time.
There was no such late transfer to register this time. Worse is to come for the new committee, taking over on December 15, which in its first three months will only collect 17,3 million pesos while having to pay 172 million and during the coming year they will have to pay 366,2 million pesos while only likely to collect 19,8 million, according to figures published by auditors Deloiitte.
So what will happen? Will they have to try and sell more players on the European markets? That has always been River Plate’s solution. But in Europe they are only interested in the best players. On top of that, Argentine FA president, Julio Grondona said that clubs in debt — they nearly all are — will not be able to sign any new players. But then he said that so often before without any consequences.