Mexico’s road to Brasil 2014 and beyond started this morning at the FMF training center in Mexico City. All the parties were there, sharply dressed in the same suits and ties. Plans were laid out -- a lot of plans, actually. Objectives were defined. The memory of the disappointing 2010 campaign was wiped completely clean.
Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre introduced his coaching staff. What he may lack in experience will be more than made up by his assistants, as each has been a head coach in Mexico’s first division. Chepo will also be working at the training center full time, every day. One would think that this should be the norm, not the exception, but the last guy spent most of his time in Miami and only came in a few days before he had to. The previous coaches stayed in Mexico, but maintained a home base outside of the capital.
The Director of the National Team Program, Hector Gonzalez Iñarritu (brother of Alejandro, the Amores Perros director), also laid out his ambitions for all National team levels.
There were a few items on the calendar that jumped out. The first of which is that there appear to be completely separate teams competing in the Gold Cup and Copa America. Chepo’s top assistant, Luis Fernando Tena, will be in charge of the Olympic team that will play in Argentina and in Guadalajara for the Pan Am games. The other is that those famous “partidos moleros”, the friendlies scheduled on non FIFA dates, don’t appear on the calendar at all.
At least not yet.
All this pomp and circumstance is nice. And hopefully the planning and preparation will bear fruit. Even with the greatest plan in the world, it still comes down to putting the ball in the back of the net and preventing your opponent from doing the same. They say their goal is to win every tournament they enter, which is what it should be. But when those expectations aren’t met, the finger pointing begins, patience wears thin, and profits erode, one has to wonder if the suits will be as committed to the plan as the are to the bottom line. In other words, will Chepo survive all the way to Brasil2014?