"What do you mean don’t bother coming back?"
Hugo Sanchez is a Mexican soccer legend, having starred for the national team and Real Madrid, but his career as Mexican national team coach may end at the hands of none other than the Hatian Under-23 national team on Sunday.
Yes, you read that right.
Mexico had been considered a potential medal contender in the 2008 Olympics but ‘El Tri’ may not even make it to China unless its Under-23 national team can beat Haiti on Sunday. Even if Mexico musters up what it needs to advance to the Olympic Qualifying semifinals, it will have to beat the United States to get to the Olympics.
If Mexico fails to qualify for the Olympics, and worse yet, fail to do so at the hands of the United States, Sanchez will face the very reap prospects of being fired after little more than a year on the job.
How did it come to this? A pair of losses to the United States in his first six months didn’t help matters, although a good showing at Copa America surely helped. After failing to beat the Americans in his third match against them, Sanchez has taken heat for results as well as for fielding naturalized player Zinha after being such a vocal opponent of using naturalized players.
Now Sanchez must deal with the possibility of having Mexico fail to qualify for the Olympics. Even with the likes of Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela unavailable because of club commitments, Mexico was still picked as a heavy favorite to win the qualifying tournament, let alone lose in the first round. Now Mexico faces a must-win against a Haiti team riding high after it’s comeback win against Canada.
Even if Mexico does beat Haiti, it will face the prospect of having to beat the United States in the semifinals. While the Americans have looked far from dominant, I’m pretty sure Hugo would prefer not to face them with the Olympics on the line.
Would it be fair to fire Sanchez before he ever coached a single World Cup qualifier? I don’t think it would be, but the storm clouds are gathering around Sanchez and he will need his team to win two straight matches this week to save his job.
What do you think of Sanchez’s position? Do you think he deserves to be in danger of losing his job? Do you think Sanchez deserves to stay regardledd of what happens? Share your thoughts below.