Fernando Batista names Argentina under-23 squad for pre-Olympic tournament

Despite their being some notable absentees from Fernando Batista’s squad, Argentina under-23s travel to Colombia next month with a squad more than capable of qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The pre-Olympic tournament kicks off on January 18th with Argentina playing hosts Colombia in Group A, the top two qualifying for the final group, where the top two will have the chance to go for gold in Japan later in the year.

Centre forward Adolfo Gaich will spearhead the attack and with four goals in nine appearances this season for San Lorenzo, the 20-year-old is now carrying his international form into senior club football.

Nahuel Bustos has been even more prolific in this season’s Superliga with eight goals for Talleres and along with New York City FC’s Valentín Castellanos will look to support Gaich in finding the goals needed to secure qualification.

A strong midfield sees Boca Juniors pair Nicolás Capaldo and Alexis Mac Allister return to the under-23 fold along with Racing Club’s Matías Zaracho.

And while Agustín Urzi, Julián Álvarez and Fernando Valenzuela create a pleasant selection problem for Batista, the absences of Ezequiel Barco, Matías Vargas, Nicolás González, Julián Carranza and Santiago Ascacibar are glaring.

Barco it is understood was not given permission by Atlanta United to feature and that is likely to have been the case in a number of those who are playing regular first team football.

The likes Lisandro Martínez, Marcos Senesi and Cristian Romero would have clearly strengthened the defence but Ajax didn’t release Martínez for the previous friendlies and were presumably against losing the 21-year-old in January and February.

Nehuén Pérez will start in central defence with Facundo Medina likely to partner the Atlético Madrid defender and Leonel Mosevich and Lautaro Valenti providing competition.

Argentina play Colombia on January 18th before facing Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela over the course of the next two weeks.