Argentina 2011 Could be Mexico's Last Copa America

The draw for next summer’s (winter’s) Copa America was held yesterday in Argentina, the host country. As usual, the hosts got some good home cookin’ with the draw: Colombia, Bolivia, and Japan. Group B consists of Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Group C will house Uruguay, Peru, Chile, and Mexico.

The Copa America has been good to Mexico as it has helped them become much more competitive on the word stage. Although they have not won the tournament, they have made at least the semi finals in all but 2 of their 7 participations, including 2 finals.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

In an effort to maintain the luster on the Golf Cup, CONCACAF allowed Mexico to participate in next year’s Copa America, provided that the team is a U23 edition, plus 5 senior squad members.

That actually works out for Mexico. The base of their senior squad right now can be the base for the U23 as well.

But wait.

A decision has been made to send the U23 team for the 2012 Olympics, which makes the team that will play in Argentina a U22 team. The only ones, then, out of that base that can play as a U22 would be Carlos Vela and the Dos Santos brothers. Chicharito, Pablo Barrera, Hector Moreno, and Efrain Juarez would have to be classified as senior squadders if they were to play at all.

Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre indicated that he might not be the coach in the tournament. Another potential obstacle for Mexico is the fact that even though Copa America is an official tournament, is it not for Mexico as they are invited to participate. Clubs are not required to release players, adding another obstacle into fielding a competitive team.

Will Sir Alex let Chicharito play in both the Gold Cup and the Copa America? He’ll let him play in one, but both? Don’t see it.

Copa America is the oldest continental tournament in the world. Playing in the tournament has helped Mexico immensely, which, in turn, has helped CONCACAF become more competitive. It is a shame that CONCACAF is so insecure and short-sighted that it has to put such restrictions on one of its flagship members as it looks to be more competitive outside the region. Couple that with the fact that players may not even be released by their clubs to play, and one has to wonder if Mexico would ever be invited back.

I wonder if the AFC is hamstringing Japan as well. Somehow I doubt it.