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Will Garraffo firing signal retirement for Luciana Aymar?

Buenos Aires Province Senator Aníbal Fernández, who was elected as Argentine Hockey Confederation (CAH) president last Saturday, fired women’s national team coach Marcelo Garraffo yesterday and men’s coach Franco Nicola on Thursday citing that he has different plans.

“I couldn’t even explain my project, which makes me feel sad”, said Garraffo to Hockey Mobile website. “It is a pity to cut this project just for political reasons but we have nothing to do but accept the decision.”

Garraffo received the piece of news on behalf of his assistant coach Claudio “Lalo” Junquet. “We said to the players that today (yesterday) was our last training session.” Garraffo was scheduled to meet Fernández late yesterday to agree the end of the contract’s conditions.

Seven-time awarded best female World hockey player Luciana Aymar, 35, had said that she would seriously consider her retirement if Garraffo was fired.

Former Cabinet Chief and Quilmes Athletic Club president Fernández had remarked after winning the elections that he was considering to end the contracts with the national team coaches because he said it was not right for CAH former president Daniel Marcelini to have named new coaches with a two-year contract three months before the end of his presidential term.

Even though there was no official statement, the main candidates are Carlos Retegui for the men’s team and Emmanuel Roggero for the Leonas.

Retegui, who coached the Leonas from 2009 to 2012 with the team taking the 2010 World Cup and 2012 Olympic Games silver medal while he was in charge, may return to the men’s team — he coached the men’s national team in 2008 and early 2009, including the 2008 Champions Trophy bronze medal — with Mario Almada as assistant coach while former goalkeeper Roggero would be assisted by María Paz Ferrari.

Nicola acknowledged his dismissal when he met with Fernández along with Buenos Aires Hockey Association (AHBA) Mario Galliano late on Thursday and he was told that he was not included in Fernández’s plans so he was required to quit his post.

“I was offered to work as a member of an advisory body but I was not interested. I was a successful coach and want to remain doing the same job,” said Nicola to Hockey Mobile.

Nicola was named as men’s team coach after the Olympic Games. While he was in charge, the team earned 18 wins out of 18 matches, including a Champions Challenge, South American championship and World League round two titles — the best winning streak ever reached by the men’s national team.

Both teams’ next tournaments will be in the World League semifinals. The Leonas will play in London from June 22 to 30 although the team are already qualified for the final as hosts (the final is scheduled to play in November in Tucumán) and the men in Johor, Malaysia from June 29 to July 7.

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