BUENOS AIRES: Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the World Cup final, has quit as national team coach with Gerardo Martino or Jose Pekerman in line to succeed him, Argentine media reported on Tuesday.
The reports said Sabella, whose side lost 1-0 to Germany in the final at Brazil’s Maracana, had told Argentine FA (AFA) President Julio Grondona of his decision not to stay on.
Sources said Grondona, the all-powerful figure who had been in charge of Argentine football since 1979, died yesterday at the age of 82 in a Buenos Aires clinic.
If Sabella steps aside, the AFA will have to move quickly to name a successor with Argentina beginning preparations for their next major tournament, the 2015 Copa America in Chile, with a friendly against Germany in Duesseldorf on September 3.
Former Paraguay and Barcelona coach Martino, and Pekerman, who steered Argentina to the 2006 quarter-finals and Colombia to the same stage in Brazil, are front runners to take over.
Sabella’s agent, Eugenio Lopez, said two days before the World Cup final that the coach was unlikely to carry on and Sabella himself said on his return to Buenos Aires that he was unsure if he had the energy to give his best any longer.
“You have to fill the energy tank which sometimes gets empty. I have to think if I’m in condition to give 100 percent,” Sabella told reporters two weeks ago.
Sabella, who took charge in August 2011, led Argentina to first place in the World Cup qualifiers where they scored 35 goals in 16 matches.