FOX Soccer Exclusive
Mexican telenovela takes another turn
Eight powerful men walked into a press conference in Mexico City on Friday afternoon to unveil the plot they concocted to rescue the Mexican national team from itself yet again. The haste of their plans left them with a table too small to accommodate their needs. They spilled over as if jammed into a clown car, appropriately bringing the circus straight into the room along with them.
FMF president Justino Compeán served as the ring master. He received his cues from the man seated to his right, Chivas owner Jorge Vergara, and then started to explain how the federation somehow managed to exacerbate the farce of appointing a fourth manager in six weeks.
Compeán revealed a course of action too ridiculous for considerate people to fathom. Club América manager Miguel Herrera will lead Mexico into the World Cup playoff against New Zealand next month. He joins El Tri on loan on Sunday, returning to his task with the reigning champions at the end of the two-legged tie on Nov. 20 to close out the Apertura. Club presidents and federation officials will meet on Dec. 2 to contemplate the next step forward, presumably toward next summer's trip to Brazil.
“It's not the ideal situation,” Compeán somehow uttered with a straight face. “Nobody likes to change managers. When the results are not given, we must make decisions.”
"No es la situación ideal, a nadie le gusta estar cambiando Técnicos, cuando los resultados no se dan se tienen que tomar decisiones": JC— FEMEXFUT (@FEMEXFUTOFICIAL) October 18, 2013
The defeat in Costa Rica compelled a small segment of the power brokers pulling the FMF's strings to oust Victor Manuel Vucetich after two matches in charge and shunt Herrera into the breach. It constituted a show of force, an evident sign of displeasure with the state of affairs and a palpable sign of desperation after veering too close to complete disaster on Tuesday night. The drastic measures also revealed their lack of accountability and self-awareness for their role in plunging El Tri -- once the undisputed kings of the region before the course-changing, the meddling and the widespread incompetence took hold and poisoned the on-field efforts -- into this unacceptable predicament.
Vergara soon contributed his own misguided thoughts. He served as one of the primary perpetrators of this overhaul, a man fueled by both recklessness and self-preservation. His grand scheme satisfied his two primary objectives to the detriment of the program as a whole: he exerted his will over his supposed peers and undercut the objectives of his chief rivals at Club América in the process. As he addressed the assembled crowd, he tried not to betray his evident pleasure. He masked his satisfaction with unseemly gratitude toward his counterparts at América for abetting this inconceivable contrivance.
Not that the Liga MX leaders possessed any choice in the matter once the wheels started turning. América found itself placed in an untenable position when Vergara moved against Vucetich on Wednesday: the club stood to lose its manager and watch his carefully constructed squad crumble, but its owners, Grupo Televisa, desperately needed Mexico to qualify to avoid significant financial losses.
This half-measure -- a temporary appointment with no guarantees of Herrera's permanent placement -- satisfied their overarching concerns about the club and those precious television rights next summer. It represented a sensible compromise given the comparative standing of both priorities. América possesses some latitude for missteps in Liga MX given its perch at the top of the table, but the prospect of losing its manager for a month starting on Sunday provides encouragement for other clubs -- all party to this decision to weaken the holders, by the way -- to close the gap.
OK. Let me get this straight. Mexico fires Vucetich to take Herrera on loan for two matches. Makes complete sense.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) October 18, 2013
“It definitely was not in plans of the institution,” Televisa director of football Yon de Luisa admitted. “We were working for the second straight title. We answered the call.”
Televisa's acquiescence to this confounding proposal rendered any dissent moot. The two biggest clubs struck an agreement, leaving the dissenters without the clout to persuade them away from pursuing this idea. A few brave souls expressed their disapproval to the media about the sequence of events on Friday, but they knew their objections were as futile as the explanations and the justifications offered by the men truly in power.
Compeán, Vergara and their comrades attempted to assuage the latent doubts by pointing to the results and telling the incredulous assembly how they felt compelled to act decisively. They shouldered no blame for the tattered state of affairs. They spoke as if they did not realize they were the primary problem, an oligarchy operating without the cohesiveness or the competency provided by direction, foresight, impartiality and prudence.
When their dance with the media ended, the eight men filed out of the room. They left to the low rumble of shuffling and camera shutters, a substitute for the familiar music everyone else heard as the proverbial curtains closed and the misguided bosses started to prepare for the next chance to pitch their tents in December.