FMF whittles El Tri list down from two to … five? What?

Ignacio Ambriz (left) and Diego Cocca (right) are reportedly among the five finalists for the El Tri job. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Ignacio Ambriz (left) and Diego Cocca (right) are reportedly among the five finalists for the El Tri job. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
FMF delays El Tri decision
FMF president Yon de Luisa (left) and El Tri sporting director Jaime Ordiales interviewed additional candidates for the head coach job over the weekend. (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Two weeks ago, El Tri fans were expecting a major decision to be revealed after the Mexican Soccer Federation had narrowed its coaching search to two names – Miguel Herrera and Guillermo Almada.

Instead, the FMF announced that it had reconsidered and the legendary Marcelo Bielsa was added to the candidate list. So the new El Tri manager would be presented on or about Jan. 31.

Before the final weekend of January was over, we had learned that Bielsa was too pricey and was no longer a candidate. And there were whispers that Almada’s second interview had clinched the deal.

But the calendar turned to February and still no announcement. And now we are told the list has ballooned to five names, with a sixth man clamoring to be included in the selection process.

El Tri stuck in neutral

After a disastrous turn in Qatar and terrible qualifying performances across the board (men, women and youth teams), the FMF made a big deal about reforming its entire national team structure and procedures.

The resulting press conference was big on pronouncements, but really only gave lip service to rumination and evaluation. (We’ll address that in greater depth later this week.)

The criticism of the FMF was swift but relatively short-lived. TV Azteca described the new strategy as “weak and vague” while Televisa called it “more of the same.” ESPN commentator José Ramón  Fernández was more direct, asking FMF president Yon de Luisa in an interview why he didn’t do the honorable thing and resign.

But the story gave way to domestic league headlines and muttered complaints about the ineptitude of “the men in long pants.”

Mixed in with the Matchday 5 game reports came news that Tigres coach Diego Cocca and Toluca manager Ignacio Ambriz had been interviewed for the El Tri post.

The notion that this was just more of the same muted the reaction with Team Mexico fans thinking an announcement would come soon enough. And besides, El Tri doesn’t have a game until March 23.

On Tuesday night, Record sports daily published a story saying a new top man is unlikely to be hired this week because the list now features five candidates.

In addition to Herrera (a former national team coach), Almada (coach of defending Liga MX champion Pachuca), Cocca (a two-time Liga MX champion while at Atlas) and Ambriz (Liga MX champ while in charge of León), Antonio Mohamed (Liga MX champ with three different clubs) is said to be in the running.

At the same time, Hugo Sánchez is telling everybody who will listen that he is the best man for the job while also claiming that the next El Tri coach must be a Mexican. If Hugo’s argument were to hold sway, that would eliminate Almada (Uruguayan), Cocca and Mohamed (both Argentinian).

Next. Rudderless Cementeros fracturing at the seams. dark

After this latest development, the best advice to El Tri fans is don’t hold your breath.