Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Slow Demise Of Argentina's Domestic King

With the appointment of Claudio Borghi from Argentinos Juniors after his outstanding triumph in the Clausura 2010, the coloured streets around La Bombonera were beaming with optimism that one of the most successful and famous clubs in World football could become Argentinian Champions after being starved of domestic success for nearly 3 years.

The 2008 Apertura ended up in a three-way battle for the championship with Boca Juniors, Tigre and San Lorenzo progressing to the Championship Play-off. Even the play-off could hardly separate the sides with each side winning one of their games and losing the other. All that separated Boca and their opponents was a single goal with perhaps the most important goal scored by Cristian Chavez in the 90th minute against San Lorenzo. The goal would ultimately win Boca the Apertura championship and send Boca into the Copa Libertadores, the South American Champions League.

Since then, Boca have finished 14th, 11th, 16th and are currently 16th after 5 games in the league. Boca have a famous history of producing quality young talent like Carlos Tevez and Fernando Gago, but this conveyor belt of talent has slowly came to a halt in recent times. Los Xeneizes even struggled to secure the services of talisman Juan Roman Riquelme during the summer but after a long, protracted contract dispute, the midfielder signed a 4-year-old to the relief of the Bosteros. In the five league games this season, Boca have only won 1 match under Claudio Borghi and have lost 3 including two home defeats to Racing and San Lorenzo.

Maybe the problem is more than just a lack of talent but more at the heart of Boca Juniors. Their famous rivals River Plate seem to have turned a corner under Angel Cappa and, most importantly, the president Daniel Passarella who was elected in December 2009. Passarella wanted to invite the "17 million River fans" to help "clean up" the club. River currently sit in 5th and a respectable 2 points behind the league leaders which is a vast improvement on their poor finishes in recent campaigns.

It has been a slow and painful demise of Argentina's domestic king and maybe it's time for Jorge Amor Ameal to get the brush and mop and start 'cleaning up' at La Bombonera.

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