We may never have a complete story on what happened between now-former Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera and TV Azteca reporter Christian Martinoli at the Philadelphia airport this weekend, but it was enough to cost the celebrated coach his job.
Mexico Football Federation announced the firing at a Tuesday press conference, just days after the popular Herrera led Mexico to the Gold Cup title.
Herrera is alleged to have struck Martinoli, and some have used the term attack, but there hasn’t been much evidence produced to prove his guilt. Some said Herrera’s job status was on the line at the Gold Cup, and Mexico’s win wasn’t exactly covered in glory.
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In a translated statement that mentioned “the situation at the Philadelphia airport”, incoming FMF president Decio de Maria said it was a hard but correct decision, and that the federation would take its time searching for Herrera’s replacement.
Decio de Maria, who on Saturday became president of the Mexican Soccer Federation, said the incident was not in keeping with “the spirit of fair and respectful competition” that the organization espouses.
“Our values, our principles, are above any result,” de Maria said at an afternoon news conference. “In our profession, our industry, the matches are never over, and as public figures who represent an institution we must be absolutely clear on that.”
El Tri was bailed out of their first two knockout round games by a pair of late penalty kick calls after producing just one group stage win, and that against undermanned Cuba. They beat Jamaica 3-1 in the final, setting up an Oct. 9 playoff with the USMNT for CONCACAF’s 2017 Confederations Cup berth.
Mexico has long struggled with stability at the coaching position, and this comes not only before the Confederations Cup playoff but also with 2018 World Cup qualification set to begin. El Tri have September friendlies with Argentina and Trinidad and Tobago as the lone preparation matches for the new boss.
The nation has now changed men’s national team managers 14 times since 2000, and only two of those changes were caretaker moves.