Mexico, SUM Struggling to find Opponents

After Mexico’s World Cup performance failed to meet expectations, it seemed only natural that the heads of the organization would step down. They had overseen a chaotic 4 year cycle in which 4 coaches were brought in to coach the Senior side. Thanks to all the commotion, Mexico barely qualified for South Africa. In addition, Mexico failed to qualify for U17 and a U20 World Cup as well as the Olympic Games.

So the track record for Decio de Maria and Justino Compean was less than stellar. Men have been fired for less.

But they were ratified by the owners for another term. The reason? Femexfut spells success M-O-N-E-Y. These two made them a lot of it.

One of the biggest reasons the National team is so profitable is Mexico’s relationship with SUM, and they renewed that contract as well.

While the relationship will surely produce a lot of dollars, is more money going to make the national team better?

Mexico has played friendlies in the US for years, and will continue to do so for years to come. But as more and more players emigrate to Europe (not just from Mexico), making the transatlantic trip for a friendly can’t be a popular decision for players’ clubs. And it is becoming an issue for other national teams as well.

Mexico’s first friendly in 2011 will be in the US, of course. Atlanta’s Georgia Dome will be the venue. But who will they play? At first, Hungary was mentioned, then Bulgaria. They wanted a Euro team, but so far none have acquiesced. Ghana has been mentioned, which would be a great match-up, but it sure would be nice to play them in Accra, not Atlanta.

Paraguay was slated to play in Oakland in March, but they have backed out. Argentina was slated for a game in the Spring, but that ain’t happening either. Mexico will be again left with a bunch of games against teams that won’t necessarily provide Mexico with a stern test. The crowd will be there. And they’ll make a lot of scratch. But that’s about it. All SUM is required to do is help find an opponent and secure a venue. As long as there is another team playing, they have done their job.

Friendlies for Mexico are supposed to prepare the team for the upcoming whatever, but they are nothing more than the culmination of a few days that are packed with corporate and VIP events, the occasional practice and the requisite “shopping day” for the players. I fail to see how an afternoon meandering through the shops in Buckhead helps Mexico’s players deal with the hostile crowds they’ll see in qualifying. It would be nice if they scheduled some friendlies outside of their comfort zone. Games where Mexico is actually the away side against a quality team in the quality team’s home stadium.

Mexico has an established market in the US, and there is nothing wrong with capitalizing on it. But until FMF learns to control its blood-lust for the almighty dollar, the sporting aspect will always take a back seat.

They should remember that the next time they evaluate another “failure.”

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