These tacticians have inscribed their names as the records of the competition.
Copa America 2021 will kick off in just a few days’ time and we couldn’t wait any longer! With so many enticing games lined up and a new format to look forward to, the excitement is hitting new highs.
One of the oldest competitions in history, the Copa America brings together some of the world’s best players. However, it’s also important to remember that we get to witness interesting battles and tactical tweaks on the pitch-side as well.
Many well-known managers have participated in the competition before. However, these five have to be the most successful in the history of the competition.
5. Manuel Fleitas Solich (Paraguay)
Paraguay has produced many talented managers in the past. But Manuel Fleitas Solich remains one of their greatest. He took La Albirroja to their first-ever silverware in the 1953 Copa America and was nicknamed The Wizard for his success with the national team.
He coached them in five editions of the competition across three different spells. Quite incredibly, Paraguay finished in the top four each time, including consecutive final defeats in 1947 and 1949. However, they got third-time lucky four years later and lifted their first official trophy.
Solich’s tactical ideas were considered ahead of time and it reflected in his teams. Even though his Paraguay side managed only one winner’s medal, Solich’s footballing methods are still practiced to this day in some local clubs.
4. Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay)
It’s rare to see a manager lasting 15 years at the helm of a national side. But, Oscar Tabarez has been indispensable for Uruguay since returning for a second spell in 2006. He’s restored the side to its former glory with numerous achievements and will participate in his eighth (and potentially the last) Copa America in June 2021.
His biggest achievement remains winning the 2011 edition of the championship, which ended Uruguay’s 17-year trophy drought. It also erased his heartbreak from the 1989 edition of the tournament, when Uruguay lost in the final to Brazil.
On the all-time record, Tabarez ranks behind only three coaches for the most number of games managed in Copa America history. However, he’s got the opportunity to climb above some of them in the upcoming tournament, whilst also hoping to guide La Celeste back to the pinnacle of South American football.
3. Luis Tirado (Chile)
Luis Tirado is revered as the greatest Chilean manager without any silverware success. He led La Roja in six editions of the tournament across three spells and finished runners-up in 1955 and 1956.
An experienced tactician who managed 14 different clubs over 30 years, Tirado’s good record with Chilean clubs paved way for the national team’s job in 1946. He produced no great shakes and left the post after three years but returned for a second term in 1952.
Tirado led Chile to a fourth-place finish in the following year’s Copa America. But, departed again before coming back for a third spell, where he nearly won La Roja’s first trophy as Chile lost back-to-back finals against Argentina and Uruguay respectively.
2. Alfio Basile (Argentina)
The last manager to steer Argentina to silverware, Alfio Basile is famous for guiding La Albiceleste to successive Copa America titles in 1991 and 1993.
In the absence of Diego Maradona, who was serving a doping ban, Basile galvanized a new generation of exciting young talents, who captured every Argentinian fan’s imagination. Spearheaded by Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Simeone, the Albiceleste didn’t lose a single game in both campaigns.
A disappointing run in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, however, spelt the end of his time with the side. But Basile returned for a second spell in 2006 and guided Argentina to another Copa America final in the following year, though they were vanquished 3-0 by arch-rivals Brazil.
1. Guillermo Stabile (Argentina)
If only the media were developed at the advent of the 20th century, Guillermo Stabile’s accomplishments would have endured time. With the highest number of games managed (44) and most Copa titles won (6), he’s the most decorated coach in the competition’s history.
The 1940s and 50s are widely considered a golden period in Argentinian football history. Under Stabile, La Albiceleste exhibited a vibrant attacking gameplay that steamrolled past opponents. Not even Brazil could stop this juggernaut.
The late tactician had a prolific playing career and then became one of the most successful managers of his generation. He may not be remembered for revolutionizing Argentinian football but his staggering number of records should not be forgotten.