Jose Manuel De La Torre has been named as the new coach of
Mexico’s national football team, less than five years after making
his coaching debut.
De La Torre’s post was confirmed at a meeting of Mexican club
owners Monday. His nomination was almost a formality after the only
other contender, Victor Manuel Vucetich, dropped out of the race
Saturday for personal reasons.
The 44-year-old, who will leave his job at Mexican club Toluca,
began his coaching career in 2006 and has won three Mexican league
The new coach was presented with a green Mexico cap and official
white tracksuit jacket at the announcement.
”This is a dream I’ve had since I was a child,” he said.
De La Torre takes over from Javier Aguirre, who left after
Mexico was eliminated in the second round of the World Cup. Two
temporary coaches have overseen Mexico since then.
”It’s a dream to represent your country,” De La Torre said.
”As I developed as a coach I kept feeding the same dream every
De La Torre acknowledged his primary objective as Mexico coach
will be to make sure the team qualifies for the 2014 World Cup, but
he takes over amid a crisis in Mexican football.
In September, 11 players were handed fines and two others –
Carlos Vela of Arsenal and Efrain Juarez of Celtic – were given
six-month suspensions for holding an all-night party after an
international friendly against Colombia.
The 11 fined players, upset at the punishments and angry the
affair had been made public, threatened to boycott future matches
unless national team director Nestor De La Torre – Jose Manuel’s
brother – left his job.
The rebel players turned up for the subsequent match against
Venezuela in October, but Nestor De La Torre resigned hours before
the game, which ended 2-2.
Mexico has won just one of its last four matches.
Jose Manuel De La Torre acknowledged discipline would be
important during his stewardship.
”I have always been very clear on the sporting side of things.
The one who ends up saying and demanding things is the national
coach because he’s the one with the responsibility,” he said.
”Discipline is essential to any project.”
De La Torre, nicknamed ”Chepo” appeared for the national team
during his playing career and made his debut as a coach in the
Clausura 2006 tournament in charge of Guadalajara Chivas.
Success soon followed as Guadalajara won the following
tournament, but differences with club owner Jorge Vergara led to a
parting and a subsequent move to Toluca.
With De La Torre at the helm, Toluca won titles in the Apertura
2008 and Clausura 2010 tournaments and has become arguably the most
consistent side in the Mexican league, winning 43 of 76 matches –
the best record in the top flight during that period.
His style is based on a 4-4-2 formation and is considered
defensive, but he is also known to be tactically astute with the
flexibility to make changes during the match as circumstances
”I have a very affectionate relationship with Chepo, but my
professional opinion is that he is very capable,” said former
national coach Manuel Lapuente, currently in charge of Mexican club
Lapuente employed De La Torre as his assistant during an earlier
stint with America at the beginning of the decade.
”You only have to look at what he has achieved in a short space
of time … he has an impressive career and some fine
achievements,” Lapuente said.
De La Torre is known as having a serious personality, making few
jokes and reluctant to give interviews or long answers at his
post-match press conferences.
That stony facade has led to questions about how he will handle
the pressure of the Mexico job so early in his career.
De La Torre was left as the only candidate after Victor Manuel
Vucetich, the coach of Mexican club Monterrey, withdrew from the
selection process on Saturday, saying his family situation would
prevent him dedicating the time necessary to the national team.
He becomes the 32nd national coach in Mexico’s history, and the
sixth since Argentine coach Ricardo La Volpe left the post after
the 2006 World Cup.
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