The Argentine Football Association (AFA) officially presented Julio Olarticoechea on Thursday as the new coach for the national Under-23 team that will compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
“I am not afraid of losing. That is the first thing I say when I face a group, obviously taking precautions. I like to be on the assault, more or less like when I played; first defend and then attack. This is my idea,” said the brand-new coach during a news conference.
Olarticoechea, part of the World Cup Mexico 1986 winning team, took over the position after Gerardo Martino resigned on Monday amid difficulties in trying to put together a team for the international sporting event.
Olarticoechea appeared hurt by the situation that is currently affecting Argentina’s national soccer team as a consequence of clubs refusing to allow Argentina’s main players to participate in the Olympics.
“I feel sorry that they (soccer clubs) don’t support the national team, neither the players nor me. With the national team we go everywhere. However, if we have to go (to the Olympics) with 13 or 14 players, we will go with our heads held high and we are going to do a good job,” said the new coach who previously played in three World Cups (Spain 1982, Mexico 1986, and Italy 1990).
Olarticoechea, 47, assured that he liked a challenge and remembered that during his childhood in the town of Saladillo, 200 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, his parents made “miracles” so that the family could be happy.
Regarding the team, he admitted that he will not be able “to improve the players after one or two weeks of work,” but he seemed confident that Argentina will make “a great tournament.”
The soccer contest in the Olympics will be players between August 3 and 19 in the cities of Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Manaos, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and San Pablo.
Argentina, gold medal-winners at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, will face Portugal on August 4, Algeria on August 7 and Honduras on August 10.