Chile President wants Bielsa to stay as coach

Chile President Sebastian Pinera wants Marcelo Bielsa to remain

as the national team coach, a job the Argentine said two months ago

he would leave when Jorge Segovia was elected head of the national

football association.

Segovia’s election has since been annulled, and Pinera said in

an interview that Bielsa should reconsider and not leave ”an

unfinished project.”

Chile plays a friendly on Saturday in Los Angeles against the

United States. Bielsa has not made his plans clear and Sergio

Jadue, the new president of the national football association, has

said he would try to persuade the coach to stay.

”One should never leave an unfinished project,” Pinera said in

a television interview. ”All of Chile wants the project to have a

happy ending.”

Pinera has acknowledged he was given the cold shoulder by Bielsa

at a reception after the team had returned last year from the World

Cup in South Africa. Another source of tension between the two was

Pinera’s reported support for Segovia. Pinera has denied he

supported Segovia.

Pinera urged Bielsa to continue coaching through this year’s

Copa America – the continental championship in Argentina – and the

2014 World Cup.

”I hope Bielsa stays, and if he wants to stay I am sure

practically every Chilean will thank him,” Pinera said.

Bielsa, Argentina’s former national team coach, is very popular

in Chile after guiding the team in South Africa to its best finish

at a World Cup since 1962.