With Pachuca Rolling, a Door Opens for Christian Giménez

Like most leagues around the world, the Mexican Primera has their share of Argentine players. Argentina has quite an influence in Mexican footie: a good number of the coaches are from Argentina, the majority of the foreign contingency is from Argentina. Hey, even some of the chants heard in the stadiums originated in Argentina. Unless it’s Chivas, chances are there is an Argentine on the roster.

Argentine players played a key role in the first legs of the liguilla semi-finals. Pumas’ Martin Bravo, formerly of Colón Santa Fe, got the equalizer with a deft, dare I say, cheeky, poke that left the Puebla goalie flat footed in Pumas’ eventual 2-1 victory.

And last night Christian “Chaco” Giménez opened the scoring with a header off a midfield free kick. Pachuca defeated Indios 2-0 in Ciudad Juárez. For the Liguilla’s Cinderellas, the clock has begun its 12-count march toward midnight. For Chaco Giménez, his summer is just beginning.

The Boca Juniors product arrived in 2004 to play for what turned out to be a loaded Veracruz team, which included Braulio Luna, Cuauh, and Kléber Boas. The red sharks cruised to the top of the table, but were eliminated in the playoffs by the eventual champion Pumas. After a season of limited action with America, which culminated in a title, Gimenéz was transferred to Pachuca. The trophies soon followed.

Since Giménez joined the tuzos, Pachuca won the Sudamericana (with Chaco’s winning goal at Colo Colo), 2 league titles, 2 CONCACAF champions cups, and even the prestigious Superliga. Let’s just say he could make a lot of money with Cash for Gold if he was looking to liquidate his winner’s medals. This season, as Pachuca’s leading scorer with 11 goals, he has led them to the top of the table and on the verge of another final. His superlative season has landed Chaco on Diego Maradona’s radar.

The Argentine coach has proclaimed that he will call up Chaco for their next round of qualifiers. That will make the 2nd Argentine from the Mexican Primera that Maradona has called up. The first was Atlante netminder, Federico Vilar (not Vizhar, Max Bretos. His name only has one L. You don’t call Messi Zhionezh, so why do you insist on calling him Vizhar).

Giménez isn’t the first Argentine to light up the Mexican Primera. Hardly. But it is nice to see that the Argentine national coach is realizing what other South American coaches have known for years: the Mexican Primera is good league to find national team players. Chileans, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, Bolivians, Colombians, and most notably Paraguayans that play in Mexico feature prominently on their national squads.

If there was ever a foreign player that deserved a call up, but never got one, it was Evanivaldo Castro, better known to the world as Cabinho. The Brazilian played over 400 games in Mexico in the 70s and 80s, and scored 312 goals. Yet he never got called up to the Selecciao, which is all the more puzzling considering their lack of depth at the striker position at that time. Oh well.

Felicidades, Chaco. You deserve it.