Opinion: Ochoa should not be guaranteed to play

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The Federacion Mexicana de Futbol and Jesus Manuel ‘Chepo’ de la Torre released Friday the list of Europe based players that will participate in Mexico’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and the United States.

Surprisingly missing from the list was goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

He’d had a much lauded performance against Paris St. Germain the previous weekend, and his missing name made little sense.

Not much later ‘Chepo’ reveled the reason Ochoa was missing from the list: he didn’t want to come if he wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot.

“On this occasion ‘Memo’ expressed that he wanted to play, that he need to play, that if he was a starter he’d come and if not, he’d prefer to not [come] as to not create a bad environment,” said ‘Chepo’ to MedioTiempo.

I never promise any one that they will play. Circumstances change and that’s what we directly tell them.”

It’s something that should be obvious without mentioning, but no player should have a starting spot guaranteed especially in the current chaos that is the Mexican national team.

If ‘Chepo’ had bent to Ochoa’s will it would have set a bad precedent. The team would not consist of those that could best represent on the field, but rather those that had set forth the strongest demands.

On this occasion, I have to applaud ‘Chepo.’

Mexico is going through a tough time right now, but one of the spots that is secure is that of the goalkeeper’s.

Whether it’s Jesus Jose de Corona or Guillermo Ochoa or some other Mexico based goalkeeper, the position doesn’t seem like a problem. So despite Ochoa’s absence, Mexico will not crumble to the ground because of that no.

It’s not entirely too difficult to understand his frustration. Corsica to Paris, Paris to Mexico, train on a jet-lagged schedule, sit on the bench, return. It’s not exactly the most appealing prospect. Time is taken away from his life, his newborn daughter, all knowing that his presence might not make much of a difference especially if he doesn’t play.

It’s a situation that’s frustrating to anyone. But the problem lies in asking for a guarantee to play.

Guillermo Ochoa can’t cherry pick the games he wants to attend. Hard work needs to be put in from the ground up. In order to play the top games he has to put in work at the “small” games as well.

Ochoa is young, but he’s been around for a long time. And to be honest, he hasn’t had to realistically fight for many of the positions he’s held. At America he was lucky to get an early start which he managed to keep. He’s been treated many a times as a darling of the national team. And at Ajaccio he doesn’t have competition. He’s pretty much it.

He might feel like he’s been paying his dues for a long time. He’s sat and watched from the bench World Cups 2006 and 2010 go by. Oswaldo Sanchez had his last hurrah in 2006, but 2010 was unfairly taken from Ochoa.

But there have been quality goalkeepers from other countries that have had to sit on the bench even if they were starters at their clubs. Pepe Reyna and Victor Valdes are prime examples of this situation. They’ve had to watch Iker Casillas command the post. Both Reyna and Valdes have impressive records with their club teams, yet they’ve stuck with the Spanish national team. The Spanish team has only earned all their lauding in the last few years and they could’ve asked for special preference as well.

But perhaps that attitude of sticking with the team is precisely what sets winners apart from losers.

It’s the refusal to be part of a team that hurts the team. Improvement comes from competing against the best and Ochoa is refusing to do that.

Of course we do know that ‘Chepo’ is quite stubborn and since we are not present at team meetings or whatever talks go on with the player maybe Ochoa thinks that even if he competes with Corona he won’t get the top spot.

However, I do approve of Ochoa taking himself out if he knows that his attitude is going to affect that of the national team’s. With all the problems surrounding the team, having a huge elephant in the room isn’t exactly an ideal situation.

We all know how the situations between national team players and management turn out. It’s like a bad break up with “he said, she said” situations. Bitterness is obvious and grudges that go on for years are way too common.

Unfortunately, I see this as a lose situation for Ochoa rather than for Mexico. Whether Ochoa likes it or not, there are other goalkeepers that can represent that national team. While I won’t deny that Ochoa is talented and that it would be a shame to not play at an international level Mexico won’t be shooting itself in the foot by not including him in the next games. At 28 years old he still has ways to improve and time to compete. But if he doesn’t want to put in the work at the most basic level, why should he eventually give preference at the top?

Europe based players called up for Honduras and the USA
Javier Aquino
Giovani Dos Santos
Hector Herrera
Diego Reyes
Andres Guardado
Javier Hernandez
Hector Moreno


8 thoughts on “Opinion: Ochoa should not be guaranteed to play”

  1. I believe that it is never really known exactly what was said. So going off of him “wanting to be guaranteed to play” no he is not right for saying something like “I better start both games or im not going”. But then again why make the trip like you mentioned if you are going to ride the bench. Vela and Jona we do not know exactly why they do not go and just say “im focusing more on my club” but in all honesty the bench thing could be one of the many reasons. I remember Jona being called up once and he started, I think it was the Colombia friendly, and he was subbed at half for you guessed it torrado after having been playing well. I think 2 weeks before a qualifier you know who your starter is and all memo did was say am I your starter? and as a good manager you already know who your starter is, hence memo asking him, not wanting to be “guaranteed” like it was said, so I believe that the one that is looking bad is chepo, he couldve said he had some personal reasons, why put memo on blast like that and make him look like the villain. Its because memo had the audacity to say he wanted to be the starter, and lets be honest chepo needs the fans behind him after all year ppl calling for his head. believe that chepo is a terrible manager because first of all the results, the style has not been good and he has never been known for his great tactics and now it seems he is a terrible manager of players. There is a reason why vela, jona, and now ochoa wont put mexico first anymore, and that is because the organization, starting from the top is all about money and is not well run. I hate to say it as a huge mexico fan but it seems that this is whats going on or at least ts my take. By the way I believe Memo shouldve started at least the Honduras game based off his performances not just vs PSG but all last year with Ajaccio.

    1. It’s definitely an interesting situation because Ochoa is the only one that has been singled out with a definite reason why he wasn’t on the list. Everyone else has been let off with “personal reasons” or “wanting to consolidate themselves on their teams.” It’s especially interesting in Vela’s case where everyone always speculates on the real reason, yet we’ve never really been told.

      Ochoa has had the opportunity these last few days to tell his side of the story but he hasn’t. So it might mean that the real version was told. He could not want to extend it and that’s why he’s kept quiet. Like you said, we don’t know.

    1. Glad to hear that you like reading it!

      I wasn’t able to write it recently because at the end of the season I was a Mexican abroad and I didn’t have time to get to a computer. And in the last weeks I was studying for the DAT because I want to go to dental school, so that was my priority.

      It’ll be back this weekend!

      You should also follow our Facebook page and twitter. Bryan did a good job of updating it with transfer news.

      1. Perfect!!! Good riddance, he sucks, let him go make another commercial, it’s the only time he looks like he knows what he’s doing.

  2. I can almost smell the bias commentary from 50 miles away. You say ochoa has to put in the effort, he has for the past 8 years, hasnt he been in the l’ equipe ideal 11 several times including last week? Hasnt he broken a europe record for most shots stopped in a single match? Want he the best goalie in the continent in 2007 doesnt he have to make a trip to mexico or usa every so often on a 12 hr flight just to you guessed it “bench” all everyone should say is well memo doesnt want to bench we understand we respect his decision and we have other quality goal keepers he is not leaving us in bad hands any way. First people dont want him, now that he admitted defeat he is rammed for not comming make up your mind already. This post is about him demanding a spot. After 2 world cups benched unjustly he has the most authorized word to demand to know if he will start or why waste your time, that is the mentality of a smart person who learns from past mistakes and now wants to avoid his dreams being shattered from the first row of bench again, and that is the most comprehensible.

    1. But he is part of a team. Teams work collectively and not on an individual basis.

      I like Memo and I think that what happened in 2010 was really unjust. He really deserved that spot. Just because he put in an effort before(and he did throughout all that qualifying campaign and the spot should have been his) doesn’t mean it should carry over.

      I can’t argue that he’s put in effort with Ajaccio because he’s a big reason why they’re still in Ligue 1 .And that’s great because it raises his profile.

      No matter how good a player is though, I don’t think it’s right for them to demand a starting spot. I think that the spot is earned through attitude, training, etc. Maybe it’s the attitude that has put Chepo off from him. And knowing Chepo’s attitude that may very well be the case. And whether you agree or not, Chepo is the manager of the national team and he is the one who has final say in who gets called up and plays.

      If he’d rather not come because of all the aforementioned things, that’s his choice. He’s a professional and he and his team know what’s best in their situation.

      I just can’t agree with or support any player that tries to manipulate the situation. However, I do understand what his reasoning behind it might be. But understanding and supporting are two very different things.

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