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 the favorite for the national team job, pulled out of

the selection process Saturday for personal reasons.

Like many things in Mexican soccer, 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 new coach is hardly the ideal way to start

over.

The 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.

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 a friendly with Venezuela in

October, but Nestor De La Torre resigned from his post hours before

the game.

The team has only won once in its last four exhibition

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.”

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.”