Basketball: A historic fall that forces a rethink | The Argentine National Team lost to Chile in the qualification for the AmeriCup 2025

The unexpected defeat on Sunday of the Argentine basketball team against Chile by 79 to 77 in a qualifying match for the AmeriCup 2025 not only raises a warning signal for the future, but also forces us to review concepts regarding whether the current staff structure technique is enough to continue dominating in the region.

Even though the result left all the teams in zone A on equal terms (Colombia and Venezuela also have a win and a loss in the first two presentations), the incontrovertible reality shows that the Albiceleste team is far from establishing supremacy in the continent.

The defeats against the Dominican Republic in Mar del Plata, which left the team out of the last World Cup, and against the Bahamas in Santiago del Estero, which eliminated it from the Pre-Olympic Games for Paris 2024, had already generated symptoms of concern and clear evidence that the The famous ‘Golden Generation’ of Argentine basketball is over.

Regardless of this, it was enough for Argentina, with the hierarchy of its individualities and with the bursts that players of the stature of Facundo Campazzo or Gabriel Deck imposed at times to claim victory against second or third level adversaries on the continental level. On Sunday night they lost against a team that is in 62nd position in the world ranking and with which they had not lost for 69 years.

The transition and replacement appears much more complex than expected. The reasons are varied but – undoubtedly – not everything is attributable to the improvement experienced by the South American teams that previously exhibited less competitive levels.

Do basketball players assume commitment in the calls? Yes. And they have already shown enough signs of getting on planes to cross the Atlantic Ocean, without rest and with various minutes of filming in their respective teams. To blame the players, beyond the mistakes they make in actions inherent to the game itself, would be an excessive question, at least, in relation to their effort and motivation to put on the light blue and white shirt.

Does the technical leadership, with Pablo Prigioni as the main head, deserve more exclusive attention? Perhaps the time has come to have a ‘full-time’ coach and not for a member of the staff, like in this case Herman Mandole, to be provisionally in charge of the team. It is not to object to the Cordoban from Río Tercero, who shows off his work commitments with the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA and does not have the relevant permits to be released on all dates, but this moment of the National Team requires – it seems – a dedication complete.

In a note given to the Télam agency a few days ago, Nicolás Casalánguida, who joined the technical staff at the express request of Prigioni himself to address “the defensive issues” of the team, had stated: “The worst mistake we can make is underestimating Chile , a growing team.” Did the Argentine team underestimate its Chilean team? In no way, but it is true that he made mistakes inappropriate for a team in his hierarchy, even though the honeys of the podium at the international level are today pleasant memories of other periods.

If a team does not defend with order, it is condemned to suffer on its own board. And on Sunday night, with the simple argument of placing the ball in the low post as a central recipe, Chile gave them 53 points in the first half alone. And center Manny Suárez (FC Kalev, Estonia), on the double date, became a reference for the ‘Roja’, with a balance of 54 points and 21 rebounds.

Is the Argentine basketball leadership unscathed after this succession of frustrations? It shouldn’t, because it is the main responsible for the debacle of the activity at the domestic level, with a National League (LNB) of empty stands, competition at unusual hours and that no player contributed in this call as it does not usually do, beyond from some sporadic call (Tyavek Gallizzi case) from one year to the present.

On this occasion, questions regarding travel or hotel logistics did not come to light, as occurred, for example, back in August 2022, in the middle of a window for qualification for the 2023 World Cup. The truth is that the basketball leadership Argentine, apart from the change of names, seems far from the processes and cycles that different coaches led throughout the first two decades of this century.

2024-02-27 03:01:00
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