Kempes hoping for exciting end to 'average' Cup | sports | Hindustan Times
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Kempes hoping for exciting end to 'average' Cup

sports Updated: Jul 12, 2010 00:43 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

The best place to get a male celebrity sports journalist talking? Without dispute, the area outside the men's. Since it also serves as a smoking corner, it is almost always peopled and even big names, used to avoiding scribes seeking a quote, find it difficult to get away.

Ivan Zamorano did, after Chile lost to Brazil at Ellis Park saying "no English, no English" but obligingly posed for photographs. On Sunday, Mario Kempes couldn't because, well, he possibly couldn't say he didn't speak Spanish.

It turned out that he also followed English well enough to understand the questions. Peruvian journalist Carlos Salinas helped with the translation at the impromptu interview at Soccer City.

Looking far younger than his 56, Kempes batted for Diego Maradona saying Argentina should keep him as coach.

"The federation should persist with him (Maradona) because Argentina will have a big opportunity to showcase its football next year when we host the Copa America. It will be a big chance for Maradona and I think Argentina can do well with him in charge," said Kempes, wearing a black suit that made look more like a FIFA officer than the man who won the Golden Boot in 1978 along with the World Cup.

Here on a television assignment, Kempes rated this as an "average" World Cup. "There wasn't much individual brilliance and only Spain and Holland showed the urgency, the desire to win, and that's why they are here. Italy, England and France didn't show that."

Kempes wanted Spain's David Villa to win the Golden Boot, an award that he said is second-best to only the World Cup trophy. For him, Vicente del Bosque was the coach of the tournament, and Spain his favourite team. "It's not because of the Spanish connection with Argentina but because they have played the best football of the tournament."

Kempes also said he didn't mind the vuvuzelas at all. He actually liked them. "It is part of football tradition in this country and all visitors for football here must respect that. In South America, there is a tradition of throwing paper on the pitch and just as you understand that being part of our football culture, even this must be accepted and appreciated."