It's not really a trial but Monday is when the Mexican Soccer Federation will rule on Hugo Sanchez's fate.
Sanchez has not lived up to expectations with El Tri since taking over in late 2006. He failed to win the Gold Cup and failed to reach the Olympics despite promises to the contrary - he actually promised an Olympic medal. Also, Mexican supporters have pointed to his tactical shortcomings as additional proof that Sanchez must go.
Mediotiempo.com breaks down exactly what will happen on Monday here. Basically, the league's owners, along with FMF hierarchy, will decide his fate.
The options Mediotiempo gives for what may happen are these:
1. Hugo Sanchez will stay, perhaps with strings attached.
2. Hugo Sanchez will be dismissed and a replacement coach will be hired immediately.
3. Hugo Sanchez will be dismissed, an interim coach will be named and a search for a new coach will begin.
During and shortly after the Olympic debacle, I thought Sanchez should stay. His main job is as full national team coach, not the Under-23 coach. However, I had a friendly chat with a reader recently via e-mail about the matter and I started to feel differently. If Sanchez can't get an Under-23 Mexican team with strong talent out of the group stage, what makes me think he can get the full national team into the World Cup, or even past the semifinal phase of qualifying?
Sanchez always likes to talk about statistics. Here are some statistics regarding Sanchez:
- In 13 friendlies under Sanchez, Mexico has scored 23 goals and given up 19.
- In 11 matches in official competitions under Sanchez, Mexico scored 17 goals and surrendered 9.
- Sanchez is 0-1 in finals, 1-1 in semifinals and 2-0 in quarterfinals.
What do they say? Well, like many things in soccer, it's very subjective. On one hand, Mexico's offense can score goals but the defense is porous at times. In six friendlies, Mexico has given up two or more goals; the semifinal loss to Argentina was by 3-0 as well.
The results are mixed with the senior team but the Under-23 team was a complete disaster.
Mexican supporters seem to have lost faith in Sanchez. In both print and broadcast reports, a majority of supporters have said they feel Sanchez should be fired. Perhaps the league owners feel the same way.
We only have hours to go before we find out Sanchez's ultimate fate, and perhaps they won't be hemming and hawing on the issue like I am.
ADD: This story from Mexican wire service Notimex brings up the issue of lost money. By not winning the Gold Cup and thus not qualifying for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup as well as missing out on the Summer Olympics, the federation suffered damaging financial losses in potential advertising revenue.
So, aside from the on-the-field results, the FMF will also consider Sanchez's off-the-field losses as well. And the financial losses aren't very subjective, unless you are trying to figure out exactly how much money was lost.