After a first trophy in seven years and the Copa Libertadores draw looming, Independiente should still be on a high but the club’s worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday as manager Ariel Holan resigned.
Despite tears streaming down his face after leading the club he has supported since childhood to the Copa Sudamericana, Ariel Holan fired a warning to Independiente when asked if he would remain at the club.
“I don’t know. We will see. I’ve suffered a lot, and so have my family,” said the overcome 57-year-old coach.
Holan was referencing an on-going problem with the club’s barra bravas that has seen the coach give evidence to the police for their attempted extortion followed by threats to his family.
— Ariel Holan (@arielholan_DT) December 20, 2017
Independiente had hoped to be able to persuade Holan to remain at the club but after meeting with president Hugo Moyano and some of the directors, the former hockey coach decided to walk away.
There had been rumours that Holan was not happy with certain members of the club’s board and didn’t feel like he had their complete support, in turn not sharing his long-term vision but the manager’s statement appears to lay the blame firmly at the feet of the barra bravas.
Since October when Holan’s car was intercepted by barra leader Pablo Bebote Alvarez after training a dark problem has lingered. The barras had demanded money in exchange for their support ahead of Independiente’s Copa Sudamericana quarter final and when Holan refused, threats were made prompting the police to add security for his family.
While Holan will not be short of offers given the transformation that he oversaw at Independiente, it is a bitter blow to El Rojo, who for the first time in years appeared to be building something positive.
Chile and Paraguay are both thought to be interested in Holan for their national team positions and Independiente are now forced to look for a new manager ahead of an important 2018.
Eduardo Domínguez, Matías Almeyda and Pablo Guede have all been mentioned as the early front runners to replace Holan but all may come with complications.