After a terrible performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013, it appears that Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre’s days are numbered as the head of El Tri. The team owners have agreed to meet on Monday, July 29, 2013 to discuss Mexico’s future.
The owners have asked Hector Gonzalez Iñarritú, Director of the National Teams, for a detailed update on what is occurring with the Mexican national side. The criticisms against the job de la Torre is doing have reached a high level, with fans beginning a “fuera Chepo” chant in the final minutes of games where El Tri is losing, a chant that has been sounding a lot lately.
Even players have begun to criticize Chepo. On Wednesday, the legendary Cuauhtémoc Blanco said, “the Mexican national team is a disaster.” Blanco used more colorful words in his native Spanish to describe “disaster.”
With four days to go until the anticipated date, the rumors of who could take over the helm of El Tri are starting to ring. Some are betting on Argentine Marcelo Bielsa who led the Argentine (1998-2004) and Chilean (2007-2011) national teams at an international level. At club level he coached Espanyol de Barcelona, and Clubs Atlas and America in Mexico, which means he is familiar with the Mexican game.
The other name flying around is the outspoken Tomas “Jefe” Boy who resigned as coach for Atlas after saving them from relegation last season. His excuse was that he was not able to win the league title. Boy does not have much international experience as a head coach, but was an active player in the FIFA World Cup Mexico 1986. “El Jefe” played in every game that El Tri participated in during the competition.
Not to be discarded is the controversial and temperamental Miguel Herrera, Club America coach. Herrera, like Boy does not have international experience, but has been successful with the last teams he has coached. Herrera led America to the Clausura 2013 Liga MX title. “El piojo” took CF Monterrey to two league finals before moving through several teams, eventually ending with America.
Of these three candidates Bielsa has the experience that the Mexican national team needs. Neither Boy, nor Herrera has the international coaching experience to lead a team with the caliber of Mexico. It would be like bringing in “Chepo” all over again. While pride might want a Mexican coach to helm El Tri, there are no Mexican coaches out there with the experience to take Mexico to the next level.
Javier Aguirre has saved Mexico on two occasions, as he did Osasuna and Espanyol in Spain. His specialty is saving, not advancing a team. He would be a bad choice, a step backward. Hugo Sanchez, who coached Mexico several years ago, is also not a good candidate. While he had success with Pumas UNAM in 2004, his other opportunities at the helm of teams ended badly. His best performance came as Mexico’s coach where his winning rate was at 50%.
The team owners have a tough decision to make. The 2014 Brazil World Cup is at stake. If the owners are looking for a coach to replace “Chepo” perhaps they might consider Argentine Jose Perkman or former Brazil coach Dunga who took the verdeamarela to both the Confederations Cup and Copa America titles. As for “Chepo” de la Torre, his days as head of the Mexican national team could be numbered. The countdown begins.