After a week in office, Ricardo Peláez, Club America’s newly elected sports president, selected Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera to help awaken the 95 year-old club from its nightmare. Upon his presentation in America’s headquarters at Coapa, Herrera was categorical with his declarations – “If in six months I don’t work, I will move aside.”
He arrives to America after agreeing to a six-month contract, which should extend to a yearlong one if he fulfills internal goals. Goals that are much different from any Herrera has confronted in his years coaching Atlante, Rayados, Estudiantes, and Tiburones Rojos. It is easy to state that America is a grand club, a prestigious one, but after last season and the past seven years, that is not the case. Herrera's main objective is to revive that americanismo spirit, not only in the team but also amongst the fans.
Days prior to Piojo’s presentation, names the likes of Bianchi, Van Gaal, and even Schuster were associated with America’s vacant coaching spot. During his presentation last week, Peláez was straightforward with what he wanted in America’s new coach – “I want someone who knows the league well.” With Herrera’s selection, America gets a coach who both knows the league and is hungry to win a title (he lost his only two finals with Rayados).
El Piojo Herrera is an emblematic figure in Mexican soccer. From his days playing on the field to his days sitting on the coaching seat, Herrera has always maintained a positive and charismatic attitude. He is consistently open for interviews and likes to pop jokes out of nowhere; such was the case with Jose Ramon Fernandez in Los Capitanes. El Piojo placed a bet with Jose Ramon that if he wins the championship with America in his first season, Jose Ramon will have to wear America’s jersey during the show (if this occurs the given date should be considered a national holiday).
In the next couple of hours, Herrera and Peláez should define America’s official transfer list. Even though the whole team had been listed, Herrera is aware that there are several players in the current squad who will be able to turnaround their poor performance from last season.
Rumors from Argentina suggest Rolfi Montenegro wants to return to Independiente de Avellaneda. It is crucial for Herrera’s America to have foreign players who are committed and help solidify the unity in the team, something El Piojo mentioned more than once during his presentation. The extranjeros are supposed to make the club stronger, not weaker, and unfortunately that has been the case of late with America.
America will begin 2012 with new coach, president, youth teams director (Chucho Ramirez), and new faces in the squad. Only time will tell if Piojo Herrera can accomplish his goals, and if Jose Ramon Fernandez is left to wear azulcrema colors. One sure thing is that El Piojo’s selection is Peláez’s best bet to begin the americanismo revival.