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Martino takes reins of Mexican football team

IANS  |  Mexico City 

"Tata" Martino, who turns 60 a day before the start of in Qatar, is banking that he can be a transformative figure as of the Mexican national team, dishing out tough love on the practice field and providing grandfatherly support off the field.

takes the squad's helm at a high point in his career, having just led Atlanta United FC to the League (MLS) title, reports

The coach, who took control of the national team on Monday, is aiming to win the Oro next summer, using that continental competition to position for a deep run at the 2022 World Cup, which starts on November 21, a day after hits 60.

Martino, the 2018 MLS of the Year, is known for being demanding but also for cultivating good relationships with his players, taking them under his wing and serving as a father figure.

The Argentine takes over a Mexican national team whose fans are feeling frustrated after failing to advance beyond the round of 16 at seven straight World Cups and dreaming of making a run into the quarterfinals in

has tasted success in international competitions, leading to the America final in 2015 and 2016, and to the final in the same tournament in 2011.

The Argentine coach, in fact, led to quarterfinals in in 2010.

Martino won the 2013 Supercopa with in and reached two Libertadores semifinals, leading Newell's Old Boys, in 2013, and Paraguay's Libertad, in 2016, to the semis of South America's club tournament.

Under Martino, Newell's Old Boys won the 2013 and Libertad took home three titles.

Several of the national team's top players are past their prime, but has a long list of players who are 23 or younger and ready to step in and make their mark.

Among the players who Martino will be able to use as building blocks for the national team is talented forward Hirving Lozano, who plays for Dutch club PSV Eindhoven.

Other promising players are forward Victor Guzman; midfielders Diego Lainez, Roberto Alvarado, Orbelin Pineda, Erick Gutierrez, and Jonathan Gonzalez; defenders and Edson Alvarez; and Raul Gudillo, among others.

With his ability to get the most out of his players, Martino is expected to help the team's youngsters develop quickly and leverage the experience of veterans for a big run at

Martino will make his international debut at Mexico's helm in friendlies against on March 22 and on March 26 in the

The March 26 contest will pit the former Paraguayan against Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio, who now coaches the South American squad and led to in last year.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 16:00 IST