MEXICO CITY, April 4 Mexico's new coach Javier
Aguirre will inherit a demoralised team along with many other
deep-rooted problems that may not be solved by simply bringing
in a new manager to replace sacked Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Aguirre, named on Friday, faces the task of lifting Mexico
into an automatic qualifying spot for the 2010 World Cup after a
poor start by a team who seem unable to cope with the more
physical style of other sides, especially away from home.
Returning for a second stint as national coach, Aguirre's
familiarity with the idiosyncrasies of Mexican football may give
him an edge over his Swedish predecessor but he will still have
to deal with the same difficulties.
Mexico's supply of international class players appears to
have dried up and recent results in age-restricted competitions
suggest something is wrong with the country's youth policies.
Last week, Mexican Football Federation (FMF) president
Justino Compean, the man who announced Eriksson's departure on
Thursday following the 3-1 World Cup qualifying defeat in
Honduras, admitted Mexican football had a problem.
"It's obvious that we have reached a period of stagnation,"
he said. "In not getting results, we have failed in our
planning. This is not a recent thing and it's our
responsibility, which we are not going to shirk."
Team captain Pavel Pardo also called on the directors to
pull their weight.
"The coach has 30 percent (of the blame) and the rest lies
with the players," he said following Eriksson's dismissal. "The
directors also share a percentage.
"Why have other teams like the United States improved?
Because they have a project, they have a philosophy and they
have criteria, and this has to be analysed by the people in the
Last year, Mexico's under-23 team failed to qualify for the
Olympic Games in Beijing and this year their under-20 team
missed out on the world youth championship in Egypt.
Failings with the youth policy were exposed last year when
gifted midfielder Francisco Torres opted to play for the United
States instead of Mexico who had repeatedly overlooked him.
Meanwhile, Mexican players who move abroad have often
struggled to adapt.
Forwards Nery Castillo, Guillermo Franco and Carlos Vela
have seen little action at their respective European clubs while
injury-plagued Giovani dos Santos has gone from Barcelona to
English second division Ipswich Town in less than a year.
Faced with a shortage of local talent, successive coaches
have called up the Argentine and Brazilian-born players who,
after years of playing for Mexican clubs, are eligible for
It is a controversial policy, sometimes criticised by
members of the squad themselves who say that Mexican players are
being denied a place.
"If Mexico believe that the only change necessary is on the
bench of the national team, they are making another serious
mistake," wrote columnist and TV commentator David Faitelson on
the website of ESPN Deportes (espndeportes.espn.go.com).
"The victim is called Sven-Goran Eriksson and the solution
may be Javier Aguirre ... But the illness which afflicts Mexican
football is much more serious, chronic and dangerous."
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Buenos Aires; Editing by Sonia
Oxley; To comment on this story: