MEXICO CITY, Mexico – The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) was forced to change its management team as it faces the imminent threat of not going to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after a series of bad results in the qualifying round.
The FMF cancelled Swedish manager Sven-Göran Eriksson's multi-million dollar contract and will officially present Javier Aguirre, former Atletico de Madrid coach, as the new manager on 16 April.
According to La Jornada, 50-year-old Aguirre had already guided Mexico between 2001 and 2002 and was picked to take the helm by federation director Néstor de la Torre “For his experience as a player, assistant manager and trainer in World Cup and European events”.
“[The contract] is in two parts, first for the qualifiers then for the World Cup. Javier [Aguirre] was happy with what I proposed ... and I believe he is the best in his class, with what he represents and the benefits he will bring. The contract is fair for both parties,” de la Torre told Milenio.
For decades Mexico remained unchallenged as the best team in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf). Now it faces the danger of not obtaining any of the four available places in the six-way final. La Jornada reported that, after the third fixture, Mexico was the only team to have lost two matches and is now in fourth place with three points.
Mexico's complicated situation worsened on 8 April, reported El Universal, when the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) released its ranking for 200 countries. Mexico lost two places and fell to 25th while the United States rose from 17th to 15th in the table.
Taking into account this ranking, Mexico should theoretically play better than any of the other Concacaf countries except the US. According to the FIFA table, of the 35 Concacaf countries only four are among the best 50 teams in the world. Costa Rica and Honduras, the best performers in the qualifiers, are ranked 39th and 40th respectively.
Reforma reported that the FMF is seeking a place in South Africa at all costs in order to recover the substantial investment it has made to reach the World Cup, including hiring three managers since the play-offs began. The organisation accepted all of Aguirre's conditions and promised to give him greater independence and decision making power than his predecessor, Eriksson.
Aguirre already saved Mexico in the 2002 World Cup when he took over the team on the brink of being eliminated and achieved the pass to Korea/Japan in the last match.