Saturday, January 29, 2011

No such problem down South – Mexico already had long football tradition and the sport was popular. But in 1975 there was talk of ‘new winds’ – the success of World Cup 1970 boosted the game not only in terms of crowds and gate profits. The Mexicans paid attention to the newest developments of the game by inviting foreign coaches to seminars and hiring foreigners as well. Why this was ‘optimistic’ is hard to tell: Mexican football already used foreigners for years. The difference was that normally the imports were South Americans, when by 1975 the interest was focused on Europeans. However, it was mostly learning from them yet – not exactly importing them to play and coach. The immediate result? Deportivo Toluca – or simply Toluca – won the championship.
The club was old – founded in 1917 – and even had some success – Mexican champions they were already twice – but not exactly big club. This season they won again and were hailed as sign of positive changes. At leas outside Mexico… at home they were constantly and severely criticized for their ulta-defensive style. The coach was responsible for the style – Ricardo De Leon.
De Leon was Uruguayan and thus hardly representing ‘new winds’. But his assistant said otherwise… and the assistant coach was no other but Antonio Carbajal, the legendary Mexican goalkeeper, who played at 5 World Cups. Carbajal insisted that European football is best and Toluca followed the new tendencies, however, mostly the Spanish ones, for Spanish football was the most suitable for the Mexicans. All of the above is messy, confused, and contradictive, but football world is mostly that anyway.
‘Ultra-defensive’ or a ‘wind of change’, Diablos Rojos (the Red Devils) won a title and have all the reasons to smile. Now, tell their fans that Toluca was not good this season!