'Beginning of our WC journey'

Argentinas coach Sabella hopes for a good show against Venezuela

“Yes, this is my first game in command of the Argentinean national side. Yes, it is the beginning of our journey,” Sabella said. Sabella also said it was very important for the team to show good results as it would instill confidence among the players.

“Because really it is the beginning of a long trip which I hope would finish with the qualification for the World Cup,” Sabella said. The countdown has already begun for the first-ever FIFA official international friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela in India with Lionel Messi in town.

Soccer superstar Messi will make his debut as full-time captain of the star-studded Argentina team that will take on Venezuela at the Salt Lake stadium.
When asked about the issue of artificial grass in Salt Lake Stadium, Sabella said: “We are not used to playing on artificial grass...for us it is not normal, that is the truth. Such turf is seen in only two or three places.”

Asked about the absence of Carlos Tevez in the team, Sabella said: “He is fat and so he is not in the team. But he will be eligible for selection now that he is playing for Manchester City once again,” he said. Sabella also said it was a great feeling to get the key job but it also has bestowed upon him a lot of responsibility and he would strive hard to establish a good rapport with superstars like Lionel Messi.

Intense practice

Argentina captain and star forward Lionel Messi defied jet lag and fatigue to join his team-mates for a full practice session under coach Sabella.

During the team’s first full practice session, the Albicelestes slugged it out on the artificial turf of the stadium for more than an hour. Messi seemed relaxed and was equally agile along with the likes of Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero. Sabella divided the team into two batches for a round of football. Sporting a pair of green sneakers, Messi enthralled with his magical left-foot as his powerful shots kept flying into the net with perfection. But the highlight was Sabella’s main focus on team co-ordination and the last line of defence, goalkeeping.

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