With the start of the Mundial a little more than a month away, coaches all over the world have started to fill out their preliminary rosters. As always, there are some notable player omissions. A few of note are Ruud van Nilstelrooy and Kevin Kuranyi.
Mexico had its notable omission, which we discussed over the weekend. Nery Castillo was left off the expat call ups for Mexico. Needless to say, this caused a frenzy in the Mexican press, and as they are wont to do, the speculation started flooding in.
I’ve really never understood why the Mexican press (or any press, for that matter) sees itself as this omnipotent presence that can make or break players, teams, and coaches. If a coach happens to be fired or a player let go, they take pride in the fact that they were somehow responsible. I’ll never forget the panel on Futbol Picante congratulating themselves after Hugo Sanchez was fired.
It is rare that anything they report actually comes to pass. Just last week, there were numerous reports that Nery “would” join the team in Mexico, in New York, in Europe. Not will, mind you, but would.
But it didn’t happen, did it Blanche?
Jorge Ramos, who seems to be the most reliable news source when it comes to all things Nery (perhaps because of his Uruguyaan connections), mentioned on his radio/TV show that Nery’s absence from the call-up was a mutual decision made by the coach and player.
Javier Aguirre has yet to speak to the press and won’t do so until Wednesday in the Meadowlands. Believe me, it will be the pressing issue. Then we’ll know the real reason (or at least the official one).
Now that Nery will not be part of Mexico’s plans, not to mention that Miguel Sabah has been ruled out of the Mundial due to a leg injury sustained in training, a door has opened very wide for two fringe players who otherwise may not have had a realistic chance of making the final squad.
Alberto Medina and Adolfo Bautista were surprise call ups for many Tri followers, including yours truly (Medina was, Bofo, not so much). The expectation was that there would be 28 or 29 players in camp, and these two would surely have to see the Turk before the team made their way down South. But now that number has shrunk to 26 players. 2 of the cuts will likely come from the pool of defenders. That leaves one last swing of the cleaver for the final 23.
Alberto Medina has been a solid, if not sensational player for Chivas over the years. But even Chivas fans can agree that his career on the national team has left a ton to be desired. For whatever reason, he plays with two right feet when he wears green.
Adolfo Bautista has enjoyed a little more success in his national team career, but it has been fleeting, at best. He has a great deal of skill, and when he is on, he is very dangerous. His bugaboo is just that, though. He isn’t on enough, and when he is off, it gets ugly.
Starting this Friday, both of these players will have the opportunity to fulfill the dream that everyone who has ever kicked a ball has had. Here’s hoping they make the best of it.