A controversial decision from the head coach of the Argentine women’s national team (Las Guerreras.) has players, fans, and even casual observers of women’s soccer shaking their heads in dismay. Just a week away from the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, coach Carlos Borrello omitted some of the team’s best players from the roster.
In a move that has the powder burns of a self-inflicted wound, Borrello put together a squad without Florencia Bonsegundo, Ruth Bravo, Gaby Garton, Sole Jaimes, Belén Potassa, and team captain, Estefanía Banini. As a comparison, imagine United States women’s coach Jill Ellis scratching Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe ahead of a big tournament. That would be on par with Borrello’s move.
After the announcement of players who will represent Las Guerreras, many believed the omitted players had scheduling conflicts or were out because of injuries. It is now clear that these standout players will not make the trip to Peru as an unseemly bit of retribution from the powers that be and the team’s head coach.
What gross misdeeds did Banini and company commit? They were the most vocal in calling for improved training and more resources for the team.
Sources say that this should surprise no one given the recent history of the team. Las Guerreras was not active from 2015 through 2017. They also attempted to get the attention of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) to negotiate by staging a strike in 2017.
Adding insult to injury, the players left off of the active roster for the Pan-American games did not receive personal messages regarding their playing status. According to unnamed team members, these players were crushed to be cast aside so easily. Because of the state of the AFA, many women use their own resources to train and prepare for international competitions. Although these players, as well as their less- vocal teammates, deserve better, it is not likely that any changes will come soon.
Historically, women playing Argentine football receive little respect and are often marginalized. Even the team’s coach, Carlos Borrello, paints the team in an unflattering light. When asked to comment on being one of the few men to coach a South American women’s team, Borrello condescendingly quipped, “Can you imagine the patience I have to have?”
I’ll answer his question with one of my own, Coach Borrello, can you imagine how much patience your team must have to continually deal with bad attitudes, archaic practices, and poor resources? It is well past time to give these women the respect and reparations they have earned.