Another tough setback for football that adds to this tragic 2020 is the passing of Alejandro Sabella, the former technical director who knew how to take the Argentina national team to the final at the 2014 World Cup Brazil, along with other great sporting achievements such as La Libertadores in 2009.
But in addition to the achievements, Sabella left what if he were a teacher, teachings, councils and phrases that will remain in the unconscious collective of all Argentines. During his presentation in 2011 as coach of the national team, he made a reference to the Argentine flag during a conference on the AFA site that caused great emotion: «There we have the flag, created by Manuel Belgrano. He gave everything for the homeland, left his salary, died poor. It is the example to follow: to put the common good above the individual,» he said.
In 2014 after the team lost the World Cup final in Brazil the technician made statements as soon as he finished the match that showed him as it was: «With no revanchism for defeat with Germany, he celebrated having reached that instance.» Proud of the team that played against another team that had no longer had a run and who, already in the first half, had won it. I congratulate the players who are a pride for the country for the championship they did. The results are always secondary,» he said.
At the end of 2014 in a television interview he referred to whether victory in sport is all that matters and with regard to that he said: «Perhaps I would have to say that the result is the most important thing, but I would say that is not the only thing. There are ways and ways to win and ways and ways to lose. It was our turn to lose in a dignified way. If you lose, you have to lose that way, looking in the mirror and knowing that you gave the maximum, that you were worthy with you with your teammates and your rivals. The result is the most important thing but it’s not the only thing,» he mused.
One of dt’s most emotional and personal moments was when the University of La Plata distinguished him for his career in August 2018. That day, the students applauded him standing up. He was already haunted by some health problems that he had managed to overcome at the time.
Visibly excited and with the choppy voice Sabella gave a speech that touched everyone. «When I was fighting to see if I was still here with you or I was going the other way, I remembered what I told my students, my players, ‘they can’t give less than 100%.’ And if I asked them, I had to fight to stay alive. Adversity is part of our path and forces us to be better. And never forget two words that are fundamental: please and thank you very much.» Look at the full speech here.