Tom Marshall: Five options to manage Mexico

Miguel Herrera has led Mexico to the World Cup in his brief stint as manager, but he's still not guaranteed to be in charge come next summer.
The Mexican federation was swift in replacing Victor Manuel Vucetich with Miguel Herrera ahead of the World Cup playoff against New Zealand. The successful former Monterrey coach had been in charge for just two games.

The reasons seemed vague and the way it was carried out was a bit of a PR disaster, but Herrera’s Mexico looked better against New Zealand and the coach has rejuvenated the image of the national team, which has suffered a nightmare 2013.

But his job was to use the America squad and his enthusiasm to get Mexico to the World Cup, nothing more. With that now accomplished, he remains the favorite to become coach on a more permanent basis, but it would be wise for the Mexican federation (FMF) to see what else is out there.

After all, the fact remains that with a short contract, the Mexican federation’s ability to pay big wages and a talented player pool, the head coach role could be attractive.

Marcelo Bielsa

“El Loco” has been linked recently with El Tri, Monterrey and Chivas and has the important advantage of having worked both in Mexico – at Atlas and Club America – and in international football with the Argentine and Chilean national teams.

Bringing in a coach of Bielsa’s caliber would be a huge coup for Mexican soccer, but the meticulous 58-year-old Argentine may want to work on a more long-term project, where his famously long training sessions will have more time to take affect.

Pachuca sporting vice president Andres Fassi said back in September that Bielsa was available for the Mexico job. Bielsa is still out of work and if he retains any interest, it would be fascinating to see.

Miguel Herrera

The favorite for the job and the coach who got Mexico over the World Cup qualifying line, Herrera has shown poise and made the right noises in his loan spell in charge of El Tri.

The 5-3-2 system he uses would be interesting to see at the World Cup, and Herrera seems to be a popular figure with fans, players, and Mexican soccer’s bosses.

In terms of the domestic prospects, Herrera is the coach of the moment, after resurrecting a Club America side and leading it to a title within 18 months of taking over.

The downside to Herrera is his lack of experience outside of Mexico at the international level. Even in the CONCACAF Champions League this season with America, Las Aguilas crashed out at the group stage.

Guus Hiddink

An expert at getting middling nations to succeed at international tournaments, Hiddink has worked wonders with South Korea, Australia and Russia, and does not currently have a job.

The 67-year-old Dutchman may just fancy the chance to give the World Cup another crack, and the short-term nature of the assignment may well suit him.

The main issue on the negative side is that Hiddink has no background in the Mexican game and, as we saw with Sven Goran Eriksson, it can be problematic with the idiosyncratic way the national team is run.

Tomas Boy

The former Morelia coach has been vocal in saying that Herrera is not ready and that El Tri wouldn’t get out of the group stage under the America manager.

Boy has also stated he’d love the opportunity to be given a chance and he does have supporters among the national team decision makers.

A disciplinarian who has worked wonders on scant resources, Boy has never won a league title in 24 years as a coach and, like Herrera, has limited experience internationally.

Ricardo La Volpe

Rather than the pupil in Herrera, the Mexican federation could go to his more experienced teacher in La Volpe.

The Argentine’s stock has risen recently as fans reminisce about the stroll to World Cup 2006 and the stylish brand of soccer El Tri played under La Volpe.

La Volpe knows the players and has provided articulate assessments during his job as a TV pundit of what has been going wrong this year.

Whether La Volpe can still produce must be in doubt, with a succession of failures since the 2006 World Cup.