Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back to square one for Maradona

After Argentina's historic loss to Bolivia, Maradona will have to re access his strategy & players when playing in high altitude locations. In Bolivia, he completely underestimated the forces of nature and the soccer abilities of the Bolivians. He, however, will soon get a chance to redeem himself when they play Ecuador on June 10th in Quito (2,850 m/9,350 ft) the second highest capital city after La Paz, Bolivia. I agree with Maradona that high altitude soccer should not be banned. It is just one extreme condition out of many such as high heat/humidity or extreme cold that one needs to prepare for. What really annoys me is the lack of mental and physical preparation the team had going into this game - After this horrific loss in altitude, I think Maradona will look very closely at the strategy used by the "Ghost Team" of coach Enrique Omar Sívori in 1973 (Qualifiers for Germany 1974). Basically, Sivori selected a young team of domestic players and had them train secretly in Argentina's high altitiude city of Tilcara (Jujuy province - 2500 m/8,200 ft)
There they trained 40+ days until the day of the game where they were joined by a few other high profile players. The outcome of that game was a 1-0 victory for Argentina.

1974 National Team

I will keep a close eye on any new players he might considering or should consider integrating to the national team.

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