Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre joined an illustrious group on Monday. He became the latest manager fired by Chivas de Guadalajara – the latest in a long line of incompetent business decisions that have turned Mexico’s most important club into Mexico’s most impotent club.
It’s an impotency that can be seen beyond the technical area, both on the field and off. Owner Jorge Vergara struggles enough when things were going well, but now the Omnilife founder is locked in a feud with wife Angélica Fuentes about assets with the club at the center. The club’s value is going down, with the team itself threatening to do the same.
Chivas currently is spared last place in Mexico’s relegation rankings only by newly promoted Dorados. That might suggest the team should make a change on the touchline, but Chepo’s men earned 26 points in the recently concluded Clausura – the highest point total Chivas have managed over the six-tournament span used to determine relegation.
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His team had been hit by injuries, with defenders Jair Pereira and Oswaldo Alanís and creative midfielders Marco Fabián and Isaac Brizuela among those who have missed significant time in the Apertura, but it’s not only injuries that held the club back. Chivas is still the only club in the world still maintaining an ethnic-only player policy, with only Mexican players permitted to pull on the shirt of the Rebaño Segrado.
In terms of building a competitive squad, this presents a number of problems. The first one can be seen by looking at the top goalscorers in the league. After eight matches, Chivas actually has the top Mexican goalscorer on its roster, but veteran striker Omar Bravo in a tie for ninth place on the list. South Americans (and Andre-Pierre Gignac) dominate the goalscorers. Just six of the 31 players who have scored three or more goals in the Apertura are Mexican.
Mexicans, like any other group of players in the Americas, ultimately set their eyes on Europe and suit up there if they are able. But as Mexico’s national team managers have found out, there isn’t a huge pool of good Mexican goalscorers at the moment.
Of course, Mexican players, and more importantly their agents, know that Chivas don’t have many options in the transfer market. That means top Mexican players on the way out can demand the highest dollar from Chivas or use the team as bargaining chip to drive the price up.