Is Eriksson the right man for Mexico?
Sven-Goran Eriksson has not even been sacked by Manchester City, yet he already finds himself under fire in Mexico where he is widely expected to be named as the replacement for Hugo Sanchez.
Despite leading Manchester City to a respectable ninth place in the Premiership, it’s been widely reported that Eriksson is facing the chop and at the Mexican Federation they are optimistic about naming him as their new coach as early as Monday.
Striker Jared Borgetti, who has scored a record 43 goals for Mexico, said in a surprisingly outspoken interview this week that the Mexican FA were trying to grab worldwide attention for themselves rather than concentrating on strictly football matters.
Borgetti said that if Mexico want to try their luck with a European coach, then they should appoint him when he has time to experiment and get to understand the psyche of their players.
But with the tortuous CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers just around the corner, Borgetti says Mexico needs a local coach who is familiar with the hostile atmosphere in Central America and the bumpy pitches and physical encounters of the Caribbean.
“I’m not talking about the standard, but in the way you take on the other teams. It’s not just about football, you have to face other things. When you go to play in Central America and the Caribbean, the conditions are very different to Europe,” he said.
The last European coach to try his luck with a Latin American national side was Italy’s Cesare Maldini, who was appointed to lead Paraguay at the 2002 World Cup.
It was not a happy experience.
During his six months in charge, Maldini was criticised for spending more time in Italy than in Paraguay and local coaches called for him to be kicked out the country because they said he was working on a tourist visa.
After the World Cup, goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert said the players had spoken to each other in Guarani so that Maldini could not understand them and had ignored his instructions for the second half of the group match against Slovenia, which Paraguay won 3-1 to reach the last sixteen.
PHOTO: Eriksson waves to the crowd after Manchester City’s friendly against South China Athletics Association Team at Hong Kong stadium, May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Fraile