Mexico national team midfielder Antonio "Sinha" Naelson returned to Brazil Monday following the death of his father, Antonio Matias de Assis, who passed away at the age of 80 after a long battle with cancer.
Sinha began the journey back to to Natla, Brazil, yesterday from Denver, Colorado, where the national team is currently training ahead of Wednesday night's friendly against New Zealand. Sinha will attend his father's funeral this week, and plans to rejoin the national team in Texas sometime on Saturday. Mexico opens CONCACAF Gold Cup play on Sunday, June 5th, against El Salvador at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. If Sinha does not play in the opener, Giovani dos Santos will likely start in his place.
Sinha has remained a prominent fixture for El Tri in the midfield under manager Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre. Most recently, the 35-year-old veteran started and played 68 minutes in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Ecuador in Seattle. "Chepo" has stated that the death is obviously a regrettable situation, and that the team gives Sinha and his family their full support.