Edgardo Bauza made a dignified exit as Argentina coach in difficult circumstances but his cordial silence at the time of departure has been broken in a new interview where the 59-year-old fired back at the Argentine Football Association saying, “They have no idea about football, they are union bosses.”
Regardless of Bauza’s admittedly poor record as Argentina coach, there is no doubting that the two-time Copa Libertadores winning manager was treated badly by the AFA. Weeks of speculation and leaks to the press eventually resulted in a meeting with new president Claudio Tapia and the next evening, the pair sat in front of the media to confirm his sacking.
Bauza revealed very little and simply thanked the players, the staff and even the press for their roles during his brief period in charge but El Patón has now lifted the lid on what he believes went on behind closed doors.
“I was already out before this new administration came in,” Bauza claimed referring to Tapia’s election as AFA president and his subsequent choices to support him.
“They already had their replacement as well.
“If they didn’t fire me earlier it was because we beat Chile; if we hadn’t, I would’ve been fired before.”
Bauza’s comments after the Chile match regarding it being a ‘ten out of ten’ performance irritated many but there was already a strong sense that the coach was on borrowed time even before the defeat away to Bolivia.
By the time Bauza sat down with Tapia and national team director Marcelo Tinelli, a close ally of the coach from their time at San Lorenzo and who has since resigned from the role, it seemed clear that the AFA’s mind was made up.
“Tapia told me that they wanted to go in a different direction and they they analyzed it and that is why they are making the decision,” Bauza said of the meeting.
“He [Tapia] told me that the decision was made by him. Which isn’t true either; it was obviously Angelici [AFA vice-president].
“When we started to talk about the football end of it he didn’t say anything because they don’t have any idea of that part. They are all union bosses. His words didn’t have any logic.”
Tinelli and the players were the only parties exempt from Bauza’s criticism it seems and the coach provided some explanation as to why his old San Lorenzo colleague stepped down from his role within the AFA: “He [Tinelli] was very lonely, fighting for an idea to change football.”
Bauza suggested that the AFA had his replacement already and there was certainly no time wasted in pursuing Jorge Sampaoli.
“It doesn’t bother me that he [Sampaoli] has sat down to speak to the leaders at the AFA. It actually amuses me that he denies it.
“In a recent press conference he denied it by saying that there is a coach working, when I already knew that he had been in contact with AFA and people close to them for months.
“It does not seem logical or ethical to me … I don’t think it was a bad thing for Sampaoli to speak with them. What I don’t think was right is for Sampaoli to not make things clear.”
Sevilla supporters may be inclined to agree with Bauza and have made their feelings known in the past week but whether the decision was a correct one or not, there is no denying that the Claudio Tapia, the AFA and Sampaoli could have handled this whole situation far better.
One now just hopes for a swift resolution and a positive step forward.