Argentina’s Olympic chief criticises lack of footballers for Rio training

Buenos Aires, July 2 (IANS) Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) president Gerardo Werthein has said it is a “disgrace” that a two-time medal-winning team like the country’s national football team “can’t call upon its players” for the Rio Games.

Werthein said this on Friday after the national team’s coach Gerardo Martino announced he would have to delay the start of training by a week since he currently only has eight players available, reports Xinhua.

“What a lovely image we will give (the world) that Argentina can’t form a soccer team,” Werthein said.

“(It is) a disgrace that an Olympic double-medal-winning team (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) are unable to call upon their players,” Werthein said.

He asked soccer clubs to collaborate by allowing their Argentine players to play in the Olympics.

“(Martino) has to wake up and realize that this can’t be downplayed,” said Werthein.

The COA president warned, “It would be good to start worrying about the sport. With this anarchy, this lack of leadership, what can we expect?”

Italy’s Juventus announced that they would not allow Argentine forward Paulo Dybala to participate and England’s Everton also refused to allow defender Ramiro Funes Mori to attend the sporting event.

The soccer tournament will be played between August 3 and 19 in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, San Pablo, Brasilia, Manaos and Belo Horizonte.

Argentina’s first matches will be against Portugal on August 4, then Algeria on 7 and Honduras on 10.

–IANS

pur/vm

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