April 23, 2014

Elections in River

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The members’ opportunity to change things

Outgoing River Plate President Daniel Alberto Passarella.
By Martín Zendrón
Herald Staff

D’Onofrio, Caselli, Ávila and Kiper compete tomorrow to become president

Daniel Passarella leaves River Plate without winning a league title and a relegation to the National B Division during his four years in the club. Rodolfo D’Onofrio, Antonio Caselli, Carlos Ávila and Daniel Kiper are the candidates who will compete tomorrow to take charge of the club and turn around this situation.

It is the end of an era in River Plate. Daniel Passarella finishes his term as the club’s president after four years in charge and tomorrow’s elections could decide the future of the team from Núñez.

Rodolfo D’Onofrio, Antonio Caselli, Carlos Ávila and Daniel Kiper are the candidates, but only the first two have a real chance to win. They both showed confidence during their campaigns and presented projects to recover River from where it is. No matter who wins, he will have a lot of work to do.

Passarella leaves the club with no First Division championships and with the worst soccer crisis of its history: relegation to the National B Division. Of course, the club was not having its best time when he took charge of it, but both D’Onofrio and Caselli think that he should have arrived with a project to turn around the poor situation.

River is the Argentine club with the most league titles (33), but it failed to win one during the last four years. It last league title was the Clausura Tournament 2008, when Diego Simeone was the coach. After that championship, River started to fall. In fact, the team finished in last place in the next tournament.

Passarella took charge of the club in December of 2009. The best result from the team in the last four years was in the Final Tournament 2013, when River finished in second place with 35 points, three behind champion Newell’s Old Boys. But after this positive campaign, the team performances were disappointing again and it ended in 17th place with 21 points in the Initial Tournament 2013, which could be finished tomorrow if San Lorenzo beats Vélez Sarsfield.

River had a poor end of the year. With Ramón Díaz as its coach, the club signed many players (Téofilo Gutiérrez, Carlos Carbonero, Jonathan Fabbro, Osmar Ferreyra and Juan Manuel Menseguez) and none of them played as the coach expected. In fact, Díaz was not able to find the team to compete for the title. The fans need some morale boost after suffering with the relegation in 2011. Their hopes increased when Díaz was hired as he is the greatest coach in the history of the club. However, the titles did not come and the supporters were disappointed again after the poor results in last tournament. River was also eliminated from the South American Cup against Lanús, showing a terrible performance and lost the “Superderby” against Boca Juniors. But the fans want Díaz to stay, as he is a club idol.

Díaz has also full support from the candidates. D’Onofrio and Caselli both think that Díaz is the man who can turn this situation around.

On Wednesday, Passarella gave his last press conference as River president and accused AFA chief Julio Grondona of sending the team to the National B Division. He said that the team’s disgrace started at the beginning of 2011 when he asked for Grondona’s resignation in an AFA executive committee meeting.

The “Kaiser” added that he refused to compete for the re-election in order to stop the AFA from further harming River.

During Passarella’s term, five coaches were in charge of the team (Leonardo Astrada, Ángel Cappa, Matías Almeyda, Juan José López and Ramón Díaz) and 42 players were bought.

The elections are tomorrow and it will be only a matter of time to see if the winner can be able to put River again at the top of Argentine soccer.


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