BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Edgardo Bauza, a former Argentine player who has been the coach of the Sao Paulo soccer club in Brazil, was named Tuesday to head Argentina’s national team.
Bauza will replace Gerardo Martino, who along with star Lionel Messi, quit the team in July after Argentina lost the final of the Copa America tournament for a second consecutive year.
“We’ve decided that Bauza is to be the new coach and we hope he will do very well,” said Armando Perez, chairman of the FIFA-appointed normalizing committee at the Argentine Football Association, said at a news conference. “He will arrive in the country Friday to discuss everything.”
Bauza, 58, had a successful career as a player for Argentina’s Rosario Central and Independiente, Colombia’s Junior de Barranquilla and Mexico’s Veracruz, among others.
As a coach, Bauza led Liga Deportiva de Quito of Ecuador and Argentina’s San Lorenzo to win the Copa Libertadores tournament in 2008 and 2014, respectively.
Bauza “is very calm, doesn’t get nervous and has a great technical team,” Argentine soccer player Jonathan Calleri, who plays for Sao Paulo, said before the announcement.
Former soccer star Diego Maradona had volunteered to coach the national team “for free” but his name wasn’t among the candidates mentioned by Perez.
Argentina will face Uruguay in a qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup on Sept. 1 in Mendoza, Argentina.