The AFA is meeting on Monday to decide the fate of the embattled Sergio Batista under whom Argentina suffered a humiliatingly early exit in the Copa America. The general manager Carlos Bilardo seems to have lost faith in him and in a blow Batista's biggest cheerleader, the AFA president Julio Grondona also appears inclined towards a change at the helm.
This comes despite Batista's recently signed contract which was to run till the end of the 2014 World Cup. However, there is growing disenchantment with how Argentina responded under him scraping draws against Colombia and Bolivia, beating a Costa Rican youth team, and then losing to Uruguay in a depressing penalty shootout. All the while playing scrappy disjointed football with Messi underutilized and players playing out of position.
The atmosphere has been further vitiated with a war of words breaking out between Batista's brother Fernando acting as proxy and Diego Maradona after the Copa America debacle with the latter calling for Batista's voluntary resignation. Maradona has been a vocal critic of the present manager saying "nothing will change with him in charge."
He further added, "If I won just one game in the Copa, I would have resigned. If I were Batista I would just stay in my house. Because I cannot light a fuse under my players to rip it up week to week."
Batista's brother Fernando hit back saying, "I do not remember Maradona resigning after Bolivia scored six goals."
To which Maradona responded, " The football played was very mediocre and the response is not to be mediocre. I do not need my brothers to defend me and I have not asked for Batista to be fired." He also ruled his return out as manager saying, "no one wants me."
The two candidates on the short list to succeed Batista are Alejandro Sabella, the former Estudiantes coach now signed with the UAE's Al-Jazira club and Gerardo Martino, the present gaffer of Paraguay who play against Uruguay in the Copa America finals this Sunday.