Tensions boil over in Mexico camp

March 27, 2009

Troubled Mexico face a potentially decisive five days in their attempt to qualify for the World Cup and the tension is already starting to tell.

After losing to the United States last month in the opening game of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament’s final stage, Mexico host Costa Rica on Saturday and visit Honduras — where they were beaten in a previous stage of the competition — on Wednesday.

Anything less than four points from those games is likely to end Sven-Goran Eriksson’s short spell as coach and discredit the players even further.

Tempers flared during an extraordinary media conference this week when Ukraine-based Nery Castillo lost his cool after being asked why he had reported late for training.

Castillo, back at Shakhtar Donetsk after his unhappy spell at Manchester City, replied with what, if nothing else, was an interesting diversion.

“You’re happy when the team does badly,” shouted Castillo, who was born in Mexico, left the country at the age of two, raised in Uruguay and began his football career in Greece.

“Have you ever played football? Was it in a first division team? That’s why, no matter how much you criticise me, I don’t care because I know I do things well.”

At the end of the outburst, Castillo offered to settle his differences with another reporter in the car park and then said: “You know what your problem is? That I’m in Europe and you are in Mexico and that is where you are going to stay.”

It remains to be seen how his last remark will go down with the 100 million other people who call Mexico their home.

PHOTO: Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson of Sweden during a news conference in San Pedro Sula, November 18, 2008. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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The last remark shows how young and naive Nery is. He needs to learn how to handle strong criticism and understand how the Mexican media works. Nery basically served the reporter, and not the other way around.

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