Charismatic and inspirational coach Carlos “Chapa” Retegui , former highly successful coach of the Argentine women’s national team ,”Las Leonas”, ( who, through his  legacy, remain currently world ranked second) will be back to work today , bright and early with an 8.30 am start at CENARD, Argentina’s national centre of sports excellence based in Beunos Aeries.



(Carlos  is a former international player himself,  a formidable defender, who took part in three Olympics for Argentina  during his playing career and retains the nickname “Chapa” he acquired as a player )

This time Chapa will be taking on the challenge of coaching the men’s national team , a rapidly emerging  team , very much a work in progress, and who are currently world ranked tenth. Below is a full list of the players in Chapa’s newly selected squad  Expectations at home , where there is already  fanatical support for the game and in particular the women’s national squad, will clearly be that Chapa can weave his magic on the pitch and direct this team to reach much higher in the rankings. If anyone can, Chapa can ! Chapa will have Mario Almada Assistant coach , with Eduardo Pesci as Trainer and will be working again with Alejandro Doherty.

Argentine hockey fans are amongst the most passionate in the world. Can the men, under Chapa, win hearts in the same way ?

Argentine hockey fans are amongst the most passionate in the world. Can the men, under Chapa, win hearts in the same way ?


Chapa’s appointment follows the Confederación Argentina de Hockey ( CAH) elections last month and the actions of the newly, unanimously  elected President Anibal Fernández’s who controversially announced the immediate dismissal of the coaches of both the women’s and the men’s national squads.

I read that the former coach of the Men’s, Nicola Franco, was actually expecting the chop and that was based very probably , I hear , on his opposition to merging the technical staff of the two teams. The departure of former Argentine international player ( and celebrated as the country’s most gifted male player ever) , Marcelo Garrafo, as  Las Leonas coach after a remarkably short tenure under the previous President of the CAH has I hear been a source of shock and anger amongst some  of the more experienced players in the current Las Leonas squad who want him to remain at the helm.

News of the two sackings hit the rumour mill quickly, first in the sport section of the national daily La Nacion and spread through Tweets by independent hockey websites, other sports journalists and fans but the official line, wisely,  was to keep “schtum” and then hold a brief Press Conference which merley announced and celebrated the appointments and avoided any reference to the justifications for the sudden ” departures . ” For many, such a rapid change of personnel after only about a week into the new board appointments at the CAH is both a shock, but also a source of anger for many fans but also frustration given our fears for team stability and continuity  where   Las Leonas are in mid preparation for the World League in London next month.

Chapa achieved remarkable success during his four year contract as coach of Las Leonas.

Chapa achieved remarkable success during his four year contract as coach of Las Leonas.

Retegui declared his support for the now new President Anibal Fernández in December last year in an interview  when he was giving his reaction to his contract ending. In reference to his departure from Las Leonas, Chapa  at the end of last year, Chapa, a devoted family man  and much loved by the grass roots hockey community was upbeat. For him  “the best” was successfully finishing his  four-year contract, with a silver medal at the London Olympic Games and an impressive  three Champions Trophies  and a world title. He had also overseen  and  a ‘generational change “on the CENARD campus and within technical bodies. He added that being “picky” on the job for a period of four years “wears you down.”

We cannot forget the surprise dropping of the gifted international Sole Garcia in his last year as coach at the start of the lead-up to the London Olympics, surely a very difficult decision but , on the surface an astonishing one  which was never adequately  explained. It  was likely to have been a disciplinary issue surrounding the player’s apparent unhappiness with having to return to Argentina from her club in Holland and remain there to be able to train regularly with the rest of the squad from the beginning of the New Year 2012 right up to the Olympics. When Chapa was replaced , whilst his successor was open to having Sole back in the pack, by then she had closure, declared herself very happy in Holland and not up for any more  disruption or possibly not prepared to make all the personal  sacrifices which rejoining the squad would have involved.



Bermejillo Federico
Juan Manuel Vivaldi
James Tomas
Matias King
Bergner Bergner
Gonzalo Peillat
Lucas Argento
Leandro Tollini
John Gilardi
Nahuel Salis
Manuel Brunet
Pedro Ibarra
Juan Garreta
Matthew Paredes
Lucas King
Lucas Rossi
John Lopez
Guido Barreiro
Facundo Callioni
Guillermo Schickendantz
Lucas Vila
Augustine Mazzili
Joaquín Menini
Juan Cruz Agulleiro,
Tomas Argento
Isidoro Ibarra

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