SANTIAGO, Chile – 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 soccer 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 the United States on Saturday night in an exhibition at Carson, Calif. Bielsa has not made his plans clear and Sergio Jadue, the new president of the national governing body, 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 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 popular in Chile after guiding the team in South Africa to its best finish at a World Cup since 1962.