In its recent official statement, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has announced that Lionel Scaloni will remain head coach for the Argentina national football team until at least 2022 World Cup qualifiers. According to the governing body of football, it has extended the terms of Scaloni’s contract as Argentina coach.
AFA confirmed the contract extension with the 41-year-old interim coach, who was hired in August last year, on its official website and social media accounts. The confirmation has come just a few days after a one-match international ban on Argentina’s star Lionel Messi. The Argentine footballer has been banned for his remarks during a match against Chile in the Copa America. After the ban, Messi will not be seen on the field wearing Argentina soccer jersey during Argentina’s opening World Cup qualifier.
- What Did AFA Say About Scaloni’s Contract Extension?
AFA announced that national men’s head coach Scaloni would continue to hold his current position until at least 2022 World Cup qualifiers. A few weeks earlier, Albiceleste team director revealed that AFA had a verbal conversation with Scaloni about the contract extension, and the coach agreed to remain on his current position for at least three more years. The contract of Scaloni, who was appointed as interim coach last August after the elimination of Jorge Sampaoli, expired in December last year.
As per the latest announcement by AFA, Scaloni will keep on working with players in Argentina soccer apparel for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Scaloni ,41, had replaced Jorge Sampaoli last year after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the team’s performance wasn’t up to the mark. France eliminated the Albiceleste in the last 16. Since then, there were speculations around Sampaoli to be replaced with a new coach. Scaloni was also a part of the coaching staff during the team’s poor performance in Russia. However, it seems that Scaloni succeeded to impress AFA with his coaching skills to bag the position.
Although Scaloni has never been a head coach of a team, he is backed by many AFA officials and players like five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.
Earlier this month, Argentina won the Copa America third-place play-off against Chile. However, star forward Lionel Messi’s remarks controversy that led to the red card.
- Messi To Miss World Cup Qualifier
During the 2019 CONMEBOL Copa America tournament, Lionel Messi was found critical of CONMEBOL several times. This resulted in a one-game suspension on the Argentine forward. This means fans are not going to see Messi in Argentina soccer uniform during the team’s first World Cup qualifier.
Messi was shown red card during the July 6 third-place match against Chile. The footballer was found guilty for bumping chests with Chile’s Gary Medel. After the game, Messi commented on the matter and said that a yellow would have been the better end of the issue. He also said that the team finished the tournament well and he is happy for the results. Messi has blamed officials behind the controversy and said that it’s the referees and corruption by officials who don’t want people to enjoy the game.
Defending the ban, CONMEBOL said that the accusations depict a lack of respect for the game, players, and officials associated with CONMEBOL. The institution has been working tirelessly for the last few years to add more transparency and professionalism in South America football, CONMEBOL added in the statement.
- World Cup Qualifier Schedule
According to the official schedule, World Cup qualifiers will run from March 2020 to November 2021. South American qualifying process will include 10 teams playing each other. If you are a fan of Argentina or Lionel Messi, then expect him to wear the Argentina soccer t-shirt after the first qualifier.