Just yesterday the soccer world was shocked (good/bad), even though it had been a possibility, to hear that Diego Armando Maradona would be the new coach of the Argentinian national team. "Diego," as he's simply known in most soccer-literate places is synonymous with soccer due to his personality, play, memories, and political views. If Pele is the King of Football then, Argentinians argue, Maradona is God. I'm torn here because I grew up watching Diego completely tear it up in 1986 (hand of God and best goal ever in the 2-1 game against England in the quarterfinals), then saw him cry at Argentina's loss to Andreas Brehme's questionable penalty in the Italia 1990 World Cup final against Germany, and fall from grace in 1994 after scoring against Greece while subsequently testing positive for doping. I was also in vigil when his life was threatened due to substance abuse and other health problems 2 years ago. Further, his political stance annoys me (pro Castro and Chavez, no to the US).
I question the wisdom of his appointment as a coach, however, since he has no real previous experience. Given his past history this will either be an amazing run for Argentina and further proof of his status as a sports deity or a catastrophic fall from grace far greater than Hugo Sanchez's for Mexico's Olympic qualifying in 2008 or even Diego's own failure in 1994. Still, I'll cheer him and Argentina on (except in fixtures against Ecuador or those that might affect its fight for a place in 2010).
Cheers, Diego. And may the force be with you.