Maradona reaches century of Argentina call-ups

BUENOS AIRES - The number of calls-ups to the Argentina team by coach Diego Maradona reached 100 in 15 months after he drew up a squad for next week's friendly at home to Jamaica.

Maradona's latest squad for the game in the country's most popular Atlantic seaside resort of Mar del Plata next Wednesday includes six players never called up before, according to the list posted on the Argentine Football Association website.

He was criticised in the media for initially including four players from South American champions Estudiantes before removing them when it was pointed out to him they have a Libertadores Cup match the following day.

His grand total would have been 101 but after another mistake Juan Pablo Pereyra of Atletico Tucuman was withdrawn because he had surgery on Tuesday. It will go to 101 if a newcomer is called up to replace Pereyra.

Maradona had called up 94 players for 15 matches, eight World Cup qualifiers and five friendlies, before picking his latest squad made up entirely of players from the domestic championship.

Since the advent in the 1990s of a mass exodus to European clubs of South America's top players, Argentina coaches have occasionally picked B squads to try out locally-based players in friendlies on non-FIFA international dates.

However, Maradona, who took charge in November 2008 and was heavily criticised for indecision over players and tactics during Argentina's poor qualifying campaign, has taken the habit to extremes.