Chepo de la Torre has been making the rounds, visiting teams, scouting players, and attending games. It’s what one would want their National Team coach to do. He was at the Olimpico Sunday, taking in Pumas UNAM’s victory over Santos.
One day later he presented his training schedule for the lead up to the Gold Cup and Copa America to one of the many FMF committees. For the first time in quite a while, Mexico has not scheduled any games outside of the FIFA international calendar, so no players should miss any games due to any frivolous friendlies. The camps before the tournaments will be for those players whose season has ended. Those who are still playing will join the Tri once their team’s liguilla run comes to end.
Chepo understands first hand what it was like to lose players for meaningless games. He had to endure it both at Chivas and Toluca. He would rather have his players stay with the club because at the end of the day, it’s better for the National team that the players to maintain that playing rhythm. Maintaining that playing rhythm is supremely important to Chepo. He says he won’t call any player who is out of form.
Chepo appears to be in complete control, as much as one would want his National Team coach to be.
We’ll see how long that lasts.
Chepo has every right to call the players that he believes have earned the honor. As he put it “players call themselves up with their performances and attitude. That is very clear. We cannot call up a player who is not in playing shape”
That is bad news for most of the Mexpats who are currently spending their matchdays on those comfy, first class cabin bench seats. If they even get called up at all.
Of all the Mexpats, only Hector Moreno and Javier Hernandez have been regulars on their squad. Pablo Barrera is getting more minutes at West Ham, but Gio, Carlos Vela, Carlos Salcido, Maza Rodriguez are all forgotten men. Andres Guardado has been injured most of the year and Rafa Marquez hasn’t played since the fall.
According to Chepo Doctrine, none of these guys should even get a sniff. He would turn in a list that excludes most of these guys.
And then came the CYA portion of his sound byte, “Of course, the quality of the player has to be taken into account as well.”
That list was lovely first draft, but it needs some punching up.
The FMF and certain promoters will get their say too. There is a lot of money to be made and tickets to be sold.
Giovani Dos Santos might not have played a lick for Tottenham, but he is a more attractive draw than, say, Nestor Calderon.
If I were Chepo, I would bring in the expats anyway (although Vela and Juarez are suspended until early March). They can only come over a few times for friendlies, so might as well take advantage of it. And just because they are not playing now doesn't necessarily mean they won't be in any given future. If it turns out they are not ready to play in this summer's tourneys, then make that decision then.
There is no point in taking a hard line now.