De La Torre set to be named Mexico coach

Jose Manuel De La Torre looks set to be hired as the new Mexico
coach Monday after the surprise withdrawal of the only other
contender for the post.

Victor Manuel Vucetich, the coach of Mexican club Monterrey
Rayados and thought to be favorite for the national team job,
pulled out of the selection process Saturday for personal
reasons.

Like many things in Mexican football however, it’s not quite so
clear cut.

Mexican club owners, who vote for the national team coach, must
now decide whether to hand the job to De La Torre – considered the
second-choice candidate – or opt for more debating while other
names are considered.

The national team has suffered a meltdown since losing to
Argentina in the World Cup second round and the uncertainty
surrounding the identity of the new coach is hardly the ideal way
to start over.

Defeat to Argentina in South Africa was followed by the
resignation of Javier Aguirre, with two interim coaches – Enrique
Meza and Efrain Flores – taking the reins while a permanent
successor was sought.

A group of 11 players including World Cup captain Rafael Marquez
then threatened to go on strike in protest at national team
director Nestor De La Torre’s decision to fine them for holding an
all-night party in Monterrey following a friendly match with
Colombia in September.

Two players – Carlos Vela of Arsenal and Efrain Juarez of Celtic
– were suspended for six months after the same incident.

The players eventually turned up for the subsequent friendly
with Venezuela in October, but Nestor De La Torre resigned from his
post hours before the game, which ended 2-2.

The team has only won once in its last four friendly
matches.

In a curious twist, Jose Manuel De La Torre – coach of Mexican
club Toluca and Nestor’s brother – now seems the only viable option
to rebuild El Tri’s fortunes after Vucetich withdrew.

”Let’s wait until the federation itself makes it official, but
thank God I’m calm,” said De La Torre. ”I didn’t know what was
going on with him (Vucetich), but putting the family first is
respectable.”

Before pulling out, the experienced Vucetich – known as ”King
Midas” for his success in the Mexican domestic league – was
considered the preferred choice.

”The family aspect is not an issue that changes overnight and
I’ve always said I work for the family,” Vucetich said. ”You are
required to spend a long time with the national team and that would
be complicated for me.

”I’m conscious that it was a great opportunity, but I don’t
want to wake up tomorrow and regret anything where my children are
concerned … there are more important things for me and my
priority right now is them and that’s why I took this
decision.”

If De La Torre is picked, the national job will cap a rapid rise
through the coaching ranks.

De La Torre started his career as head coach in the 2006
Clausura tournament and already has three national titles to his
name, building his Toluca side into arguably the most consistent
performer in the Mexican league in recent years.

”The directors will decide the timetable, let’s wait and see
what happens and that’s all, we’re all waiting,” De La Torre said.
”I feel ready, if I didn’t, I would have dropped out.”