Team Mexico coach “Tata” Martino kicks off controversial “mini-cycles” as El Tri takes its first steps toward 2022.
For the first time since taking over as Mexico’s manager last month, Gerardo “Tata” Martino had a team to coach on Monday. His first El Tri call-up brought 24 players based in Liga MX to the official training grounds for a short, two-day camp, a so-called “mini-cycle.”
Coach Martino delivered a locker room chat to the team, discussing his philosophy and his training methods before sending the players out to the fields for a work-out and tactical drills.
These new “mini-cycles” will be brief concentrations in addition to the FIFA dates when Team Mexico will have a full week to practice and prepare for exhibition matches. The new concept has not been met with complete approval.
More from Viva Liga MX
- Guillermo Ochoa is out 4-6 weeks
- The Clásico Regiomontano is Heating Up
- Pumas: In Search of Regaining a Top Spot
- Why the United States Is Set to Overtake Mexico on the World Stage
- Erick Gutierrez is out once again
Last week, Miguel Herrera – head coach of the defending champion América Aguilas – criticized the interruption to his team’s preparation for Sunday’s Clásico Capitalino against the Pumas.
“I don’t agree with this,” he told reporters at his media session before Saturday’s match against León. “But América supports the national team.”
“We are supplying 10 players between (the mini-cycle) and the youth teams, so we can’t really start practicing until Thursday. I can understand the Under-20 (training camp), because there is a World Cup around the corner. Myself, I wouldn’t (utilize the mini-cycles), but that is the coach’s decision and we will always allow our players to practice with the national team.”
Herrera coached El Tri for 20 months from November 2013 through July 2015.
This first mini-cycle allows “Tata” to work closely with national teamers playing in the domestic league. Club teams are not obligated to release players for national team practice except for designated FIFA dates. As such, Team Mexico players based in Europe will rarely – if ever – take part in a midweek mini-cycle.
The notoriously snippy Mexican soccer media took issue with many of the rules instituted by “Tata.” The biggest complaint was that journalists were forbidden from filming or transmitting live, or posting social media messages during their 15 minutes of access to the team practice. Reporters were required to wait until they had returned back inside before sending reports or images.
The media was also prohibited from filming or taking photos of the junior national teams that were also practicing. The training ground “access” was exclusively
This week featured the arrival of four players who’ve never played for the senior national team – Chivas forward Alexis Vega, 21; Atlas midfielder Juan Pablo Vigón, 27; Monterrey midfielder Carlos Rodríguez, 22; and, América fullback Jorge Sánchez, 21.
Youth teams in training
Two other Team Mexico squads were also at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento (literally, the High Performance Center) – the Under-23 team practiced for the second time this year, while 25 Under-20 players were summoned to being training for the 2019 World Cup in Poland.
Under-23 coach Jaime Lozano is in charge of qualifying Team Mexico for the 2020 World Cup. The Concacaf qualifying tournament will take place in Costa Rica in October.
The Under-20 team – coached by Diego Ramírez – qualified for the World Cup by finishing second to the United States in the Concacaf qualifying tournament last November. Four Concacaf teams – Team USA, Mexico, Panama and Honduras – will participate in the U-20 World Cup in Poland in May-June.