Unprofessional Foul


October 12, 2010

Mexican Players Don’t Like Being Punished

De la Torre: Not popular with the players

Néstor de la Torre, director of national teams for the Mexican FA (FMF), resigned from his post today following a dispute with members of the Mexican selección.

De la Torre said he was quitting because “respect for authority is very important in an institution like this, and when you lose that respect, you lose order.”

You may recall when several members of El Tri were fined and suspended for a crazy party they threw in Monterrey last month. De la Torre was in charge of doling out the punishments, and the players were upset about it.

“They wanted me to make a public apology for applying regulations, and I couldn’t agree to that,” he said, adding that “I’m convinced that as long as things continue to be done the same way, we’re going to get the same results.”

However, Néstor’s recent spat with the players over the Monterrey incident may have been the tipping point for a relationship that had been turning sour ever since the World Cup.

An editorial in today’s Mexican daily El Universal suggests ten “sins” De la Torre committed in the eyes of the players, which led to his downfall:

1. In preparation for the World Cup, coach Javier Aguirre, with De la Torre’s backing, called up the squad more than a month ahead of time.  Several players were unhappy about being away from their families for so long.

2. You would normally expect a World Cup squad to be disciplined and focused in the weeks prior to the big matches.  However, Cuauhtémoc Blanco and several other players were found very late one night having a “meeting.” Photos showed the players were smoking and listening to music.

3.  The Mexican MNT still doesn’t have a coach. Following Aguirre’s resignation, players expected a more organized process for installing a new coach and moving forward towards Brazil 2014.

4. Rafa Marquez didn’t like Néstor’s attitude, complaining that he rarely spoke with players and was always trying to impose his own ideas.

5. Players were unhappy with the two interim coaches chosen for Mexico’s recent clashes against Spain, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela.

6. De la Torre’s decision to investigate the whole Monterrey party fiasco, which put the players in a bad light in the press.

7. De la Torre’s decision to name the 13 players who were disciplined following the Monterrey events, and his decision to hand out separate suspensions for Efrain Juárez and Carlos Vela, rather than giving out a standard “anonymous” punishment to the whole squad.

8. The 13 disciplined players wrote a letter to De la Torre, which was “accidentally” leaked to the press, once again making them look bad.

9 and 10. De la Torre’s decision not to apologize for being a disciplinarian, as well as his efforts to impose discipline in the squad, which suggests that players will run out anyone who tries to keep them in line.

This whole thing reminds me of my 5th grade teacher. I spent 5th grade at a small private school in Buenos Aires.  My classmates included the daughter of the mayor and the son of a congressman. Our teacher, who the kids nicknamed “Vaca”, wasn’t willing to put up with these spoiled little hellions and started laying down the law. So the kids complained to their rich, powerful parents and got him fired. The end.

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