Myself with Las Leonas #27 Noey Barrioneuvo

Myself with Las Leonas player  #27 Noey Barrioneuvo










At a press conference in Cordoba today ,16th Dec , the  CAH ( Confederación Argentina de Hockey ) ,  has formally endorsed  Marcello Garrafo,  himself a retired former national player who represented his country at three separate Olympics  and former coach of the Argentine Men’s team in 1997,  who has signed a two year contract as the new coach to Las Leonas to replace the highly successful outgoing  Carlos Retegui and he will take up his position on January 30th 2013.


The conference took place in the presence of  Daniel Marcellini  president of the  CAH, along with the head coach overseeing both  the male and female teams, Alfredo Castro, plus  Las Leonas players  Rosario Lucchetti and  Macarena Rodríguez sharing the stage. At the same  event the appointment of  Franco Nicola, as the national coach of  the emerging Argentine men’s  team  was formalised , Franco having  debuted with the men’s victory in the recent  Champions Challenge in Quilmes.


Marcello , himself a former captain of the Men’s national squad remarked “I feel excitement and gratitude. Being in charge of a great team like the Lionesses is recognition.” He continued  “It took me  one second decide  to accept the offer to be responsible for the Lionesses. My head thinking of the  Olympic period to be  honest when talking about expectations for the future.”

Alfredo Castro - Head Coach over-seeing both gender teams

Alfredo Castro – Head Coach over-seeing both gender teams

During the proceedings Marcello  was enthusiastic when asked about the future of Luciana Aymar in his plans but also Sole Garcia who we recall was excluded last year from the Olympic pre-selection group by the previous administration of Carlo Retegui. Asked about Luciana and her continuation in the national team, post Olympics 2012,  he merely stated that she was captain and the best player in the world.

Luciana Aymar

Luciana Aymar

On the subject of Sole he suggested  that  a fresh dialogue is likely since she has the distinction of remaining one of the best players in the world and he added, wryly, “Remember I am the new Argentina coach.”

Marcello continued , “This is has been such a successful global team over the past 15 years ,with the possibility that I will add experience and help make sure they  to keep excelling. It’s a big responsibility and, of course, a difficult but exciting challenge.”  In turn, Rosario Luchetti said the players are very happy with the coaching change ” a point re-enforced by her team mate Macarena Rodríguez, adding that the  departure of Carlos Retegui  the team driver  for the Rosario 2010 World championship success , was due to “wear  with the squad”  *1”

Rosario Lucchetti

Rosario Lucchetti

Luchetti said “ We are happy, because his name was  raised as an issue amongst  the team. I think all the changes are always positive. I say this from my experience of life. ” She continued: “I think we should take it as a good thing and to keep growing.” “I agree with what you said Charo. Whenever there is change it is motivating. Start new things and face it in the best way ” Rodriguez added .

On the agenda of those selected for the next year, it was reported that Las Leonas  and New Zealand will play a friendly series in Rosario in late February then with a return series in Oceania  the following month.

Finally, Franco Nicola , new men’s coach, told the audience  that he was pleased that  his new  charges   had  “started off  on the right foot” with their victory in the international Champions Challenge tournament in Quilmes. He continued “For us, it’s a plus and  we will  keep working, with changes in our game, adding players and working towards the main objective  which is to be in the  top five in the world rankings”.

SOURCES : This item is my unofficial translation on behalf of non-Spanish speaking fans of Argentine Hockey  from the original report  from the  Argentine National Press Agency Telam and snippets from the CAH official press release and my own resources and research.

The original official CAH release can be found here :-

Marcelo Garraffo será el nuevo entrenador de Las Leonas

Author’s footnotes :-

all images in this report are from my own stock image libraries

All images in this report are from my own stock image libraries. Please contact me any time for international player images for editorial use.











It should be remembered that recently, knowing a new coach appointment was imminent, Sole Garcia  had indicated elsewhere  that it was unlikely she would be seeking a place back in the team , suggesting she was weary of the sacrifices and commitment she had had to make during here time on the team , indicating that she  had got over the pain of  being dropped by Carlos Retegui and thereafter losing her place and had moved on . She declared herself  happy to continue to live and work in Holland where she feels settled , and where she has many friends and is regarded as one of the most celebrated  players in the  Hoofdklasse’s league.  I am sure that Marcello Garrafo’s  being open to the idea of her re-inclusion will excite many fans who were , like me, puzzled and saddened at her exclusion from the squad in Olympic year and longing to have her back in the team. 

*1 We can only speculate exactly what is meant by Carlos Retegui’s departure being described as  “wear in the team”  which suggests he recognised he had taken the role as far as he could but with a hint that greater harmony in the team needed to be restored with a new broom taking over the helm. Sad to see such an outstanding and very likeable coach retire but I am sure he will not only appreciate having more time to spend with his beloved  family but no doubt continue to work tirelessly in his own Salta Association’s grass roots clubs and for the good of the game nationally and I wish him every success in the future. It has certainly been a great privilege for me  to have been on the receiving end of his friendly kindness  and generosity of spirit. 


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