River turn to Huracan hero Cappa

BUENOS AIRES - Angel Cappa, the coach who steered modest Huracan to second place in the Argentine Clausura championship last season, is set to take charge of ailing giants River Plate.

Daniel Passarella, the former River captain and coach who inherited the heavily indebted "Millionaires" on winning the club presidency in December, said he had offered the job to Cappa.

"Cappa is a trainer to the River people's liking and palate. I think he can help at this time," Passarella, a former central defender with a strong attacking penchant, told a news conference at the Monumental on Tuesday.

"I think he'll give River a different touch, a touch of distinction," added the captain of Argentina's 1978 World Cup-winning team.

Cappa, based in Spain with his family, is due to arrive on Wednesday for talks with Passarella.

River are mired in their worst ever run, a side with a fine attacking tradition who have scored only eight goals in 14 league games this year and none in the last five.

Passarella said the previous River administration had bled the club dry and left debts "all over the place", making the recruiting of big-name players a near impossible task.

Cappa, however, is noted for getting the best out of journeymen players and discovering hidden talent in others, as he did with Huracan last year when they finished one point behind title winners Velez Sarsfield.


"We're going to build a competitive team for the next tournament," Passarella, 56, said.

River sacked coach Leonardo Astrada on Monday in a bid to stop the rot that could see them fighting to avoid relegation.

Holders of a record number of Argentine league titles in the professional era from 1931, River are in a dangerous position in the relegation averages taken over three seasons.

A poor 2010-11 season would push the club that produced Alfredo di Stefano in the early 1950s and an array of more recent talented exiles to top clubs in Europe towards the brink of a first ever relegation.

"We're aware (of the danger). I think we've made a change of coach. That shows we're aware," said Passarella.

Charismatic former River, Inter Milan and Argentina striker Ramon Diaz, who as coach steered the team to five league titles in the 1990s, was the fans' favourite. He is not out of the picture but Cappa has first refusal.

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