Football: Argentina appoint Sabella as new coach

BUENOS AIRES, July 29, 2011 (AFP) - Argentina has appointed Alejandro Sabella as national team coach to replace sacked Sergio Batista, the federation's general secretary Jose Luis Meiszner announced.

"The decision has been taken. Sabella is the choice," Meiszner told official news agency Telam.

Argentina's Copa America quarter-final exit to Uruguay earlier this month cost Batista his job even though he had only replaced Diego Maradona just eight months earlier.

Batista was vilified in the press for not seeming to know his best team -- he chopped and changed after a poor start before Carlos Tevez, whom he dropped after two games, returned to miss the decisive spotkick against Uruguay.

As a player, Sabella had brief stints with Sheffield United and Leeds. Before coming into the frame as Batista's successor he had been in line to take charge of Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates.

Sabella, who is 56 and who began his playng career with River Plate in his home city of Buenos Aires, won the Copa Libertadores with Estudiantes two years ago.

That success was instrumental in pushing him to the front of the queue to replace Batista, who was dumped after proving unable in his sole tournament in charge to end a trophy drought at senior level going back to 1993, though he did steer the Olympic side to glory in 2008.

Since a 1993 Copa success, seven coaches have come and gone without achieving senior level silverware.

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