Martino steps down as Argentina national team coach


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Gerardo Martino has resigned as Argentina’s national team coach, just over a week after the team lost in the final of the Copa America.

The Argentine Football Association announced his departure on Tuesday. Martino took over in August 2014 and his team lost two finals to Chile in the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.

The resignation is another major blow to Argentina, which reached the 2014 World Cup final before losing against Germany.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi said he was retiring from international football following the loss to Chile, and Argentina must now find a coach quickly for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

As of now, Argentina has only nine players in its Olympic squad, and the president of the Argentine Olympic committee has hinted he may not send a team.

In addition, the Argentine federation is facing charges of financial corruption and mismanagement.

AFA’s statement said “the coaching team was resigning” because of the confusion surrounding the governance of AFA, and for the “serious problems involved assembling a team to represent the country in the upcoming Olympic Games.”

Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic committee, said he was hopeful a team could be assembled, despite some clubs balking at releasing players.

“I have started talking with the football leadership, some club presidents,” Werthein said. “The clubs and the people who lead them are more responsible (than AFA). We have worked hand-in-hand … for Argentina to have a team.”

Argentina is to open against Portugal on Aug. 4 in the men’s football tournament.

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