Thursday, August 2, 2007

Nkong hangs on

Alain Nkong made it. He's with Atlante now and figures to be a key part of the club's upcoming Apertura 2007 campaign. He really couldn't have asked for a better gig, as Atlante moved from Mexico City to Cancun in the offseason. So not only will he play in a strong league, he'll do so while living in the comforts of Cancun... though we're coming up on hurricane season.

Anyway, here's some of what the former Rapids man told the media upon making the cut.

"There is a God. I am very happy to go to Cancun with the team. I spoke with the coach to give him my thanks but now it's time to show it. The preseason is over and the season is starting.

I need to start thinking about Saturday's game because my desire is to score lots of goals.
I'm not promising any amount of goals but you can rest assured that I will score. I am working hard with the coaching staff to adjust to center mid."

Atlante opens the season Saturday at Jaguares.


Anonymous said...

I thought that moving teams to other cities was something that pretty much only happen in the US? Is this totally unheard of in Mexican sports or rare but not unheard of? With team loyality so entrenched in Mexico how do they really expect to grow support in Cancun? An how do their supporters in Mexico City feel about the whole thing?

El Chueco said...

Atlante did not have much of a following in Mexico City during the last few years. Their home games at Azteca were sad to watch, with the cavernous stadium almost empty. The last glory years of the team were in the early '90s when they were dominant and after that they faded quickly. I heard Cancun is very excited to finally have a tema of their own.

It's a rare occurence for teams in Mexico to move but it has happened succesfully with Necaxa when they moved from Mexico City (Azteca) to Aguascalientes, where they now have ardent fan support. This finally allowed them to break free of the shadow of their big brother, Club America.

L.B. said...

Moving is not exactly rare for Mexican clubs. Most clubs are pretty entrenched in their respective cities, including some relative lightweights like Morelia and Tigres.

But some clubs have come and gone. Necaxa for instance moved from Mexico City to Aguascalientes, though they pretty much kept their logo and uniforms intact.

Other clubs who have come and gone include La Piedad, Colibries and Irapuato. I'm not sure because it's been a while but I believe Irapuato moved to Veracruz and played as the Tiburones Rojos while the long-established Tiburones Rojos were in the second division, then moved to Chiapas and became Jaguares. I think that's how it goes but I can't remember. It's been a while.

L.B. said...

Chueco, maybe you can help clear up the whole Irapuato thing. Did I get that straight? I'm almost positive that's how it went down.

The team I'd like to see come back up to the top flight is Leon, if for nothing else to have a club nicknamed las panzas verdes (green bellies) in the first division.

El Chueco said...

Yes, you got the Irapuato thing right. All the wheeling and dealing between relegation teams and "Primera A" teams that ascend to first division becomes very confusing. I recall an instance that could be described as the zenith of relegation/promotion: Puebla had descended and bought the team that had ascended from "Primera A" so they could still get to play as Puebla in Estadio Cuauhtemoc. Pretty wierd. This happened often until folks like Decio DeMaria came in to restore some order.

Speaking of Leon, they were one of my favorite teams in the '90s when they had palyers like Misael Espinosa,Eric Wynalda, Marcelo Balboa and Hernan Medford (Costa Rican DT). Those "panzas verdes" were good! Being there at the guajio stadium in my younger days was quite a memorable experience. Come to think of it, there were several Americans playing in Mexico at the time: Tab Ramos (Tigres), Wynalda and Balboa (Leon), Kinnear (Necaxa), Mike Sorber - current assistant US coach (Pumas). Why did no more Americans go down there after that first wave of US players? L.B., can you give insight as to why that happened?

L.B. said...

I think it's because of MLS and more of an appeal to stay at home and help build up the league here.

I still think an American player - a gringo, not a Mexican-American like Sonny Guadarrama - can go down and play in Mexico and make a name for himself. With more of a focus on MLS from Mexican clubs, I'd expect somebody to pursue an American player at some point sooner rather than later.

Keep an eye out for something on the topic in the near future (okay several weeks from now...).