As shocking as some managerial rumours can be, you have to admit that more often than not, there’s usually a grain of truth in them. Sven to North Korea? Seems the Koreans did make an approach. Lothar Matthaus to coach Racing Club in Argentina? It would’ve happened if it wasn’t for his girlfriend. Any second now, I’m expecting to see Bora Milutinovic pop up in Wellington to surprisingly take over the All Whites’ World Cup campaign.
Actually, it’s not Bora that’s on my mind at the moment, but another name which has steered several nations through World Cups and who is familiar in Asia-Pacific: Guus Hiddink.
The Dutch coach has recently, and somewhat surprisingly, been left out of South Africa 2010 by a plucky (I can only imagine, since there was no match coverage out here) Slovenian squad. What’s a contractually-committed but otherwise unencumbered manager to do in the meantime? Can’t go back to Chelsea -yet- because Carlo ‘the Don’ Ancelotti is doing quite fine at Stamford Bridge. Real Madrid is always a possibility, no matter where they sit in the standings, they’re quite likely to pull the plug on a manager they don’t like (just ask Fabio ‘the Other Don’ Capello).
No, Guus is looking for a different challenge. How about managing the World Cup with a team more than capable of going all the way but managed by a complete moron? Yes! Argentina!
No. I’m not joking.
Apparently the Diego Maradona v. Carlos Bilardo feud has gotten so bad that the Argentina football association is considering something it has never done in the professional era, putting a foreigner in charge of the national team.
Well, sort of.
According to these rumours, Guus would occupy an assistant’s role, and help to steer the plucky (but clueless, and offensive) Diego Maradona to becoming that which no one can even imagine, a half-decent manager.
Why would Guus do this, you ask? Just listen to this man’s enthusiasm in a interview with the Dutch press:
That would not be a bad idea, would it? We know each other well. It even makes me smile thinking about it.
Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that perhaps, it’s the latter part of that interview that reveals why Hiddink seems to contemplating the incomtemplatable:
… right now I don’t feel too good. The knockout from the World Cup has affected me. At a moment like this I wonder if I actually want to carry on coaching.
Clearly the man is suffering from a huge blow. Mental capacity is diminished. He is entertaining thoughts he would never have if he were in his right mind.
Then again, you never know, AFA President Julio Grondona might just find a way to shunt Diego sideways and give the hot seat to the Dutchman. If that happens, Argentina will instantly improve their chances of winning the Cup, and make me a very happy man, indeed.