Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre got a reprieve but not exactly a vote of confidence Monday in his bid to keep his job as manager of Mexico's national soccer team.
Mexico has struggled this year, winning just five of 17 matches and just one of its six World Cup qualifiers. And after Mexico failed to reach the final of the Gold Cup on Sunday for the first time since 2005, officials of the country's soccer federation called an emergency meeting with representatives of Mexico's professional soccer clubs, who decided to allow De la Torre to continue as coach.
De la Torre was booed off the field after each of Mexico's two losses to Panama in the Gold Cup, with fans throwing debris at the coach and chanting "Fire Chepo." That sentiment carried over to Monday's meeting in Mexico City.
"There were strong voices that weren't in agreement," federation President Justino Compean said in a news conference. "But in the end they came together because we're united in the same objective, which is qualification."
The regional World Cup-qualifying tournament resumes in September with four matches left to play. The U.S. leads the table with 13 points, five more than Mexico, which is in third place, a point ahead of Honduras. The top three teams in the six-country tournament win automatic berths in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
If Mexico makes it Compean couldn't promise De la Torre would still be his coach. In the last four decades only one manager has lasted a full four-year World Cup cycle atop the Mexican team.
“After those four [qualification] games, we’ll sit down again because a World Cup is very different,” Compean said.