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After the Costa Rica game, the question then arises, “What was Ricardo Ferretti’s problem with “molero” friendlies?”

Ricardo Ferretti is doing what he unfairly criticized for many years.

Mexico v Costa Rica - International Friendly Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Ricardo “Tuca” Ferreti has become a fan favorite because of his endless amount of outbursts and comments. The Mexican fans, but especially the press, fell in love with the guy for “telling it like it is”.

And none of the comments he has made has had as much of an impact as the time he criticized Mexico for playing their friendlies in the US and coined the phrase “partidos moleros”. Thus the “partidos moleros” moniker became the phrase to use to criticize these type of Non-FIFA date friendlies, where Mexico play inferior teams with squads of only Liga MX players. It’s gotten to the point that almost every friendly gets the nickname, including official FIFA Dates played in the U.S. In fact, TV Azteca, has labeled most games as “el mole tour”.

For the time being, “Tuca” Ferretti has stepped in as interim manager, and while he has agreed to play with youth players in an attempt to move from the veteran guard in time for Qatar 2022, a strange thing happened the other night against Costa Rica. Ferretti played a near full-strength Costa Rica side with a starting XI of all Liga MX players. The fact that he played with practically a second-string side wasn’t surprising, it was that he did exactly what he criticized the FMF for doing years ago. So why did he have such a problem with “moleros” then?

Mexico, being one of the sides that plays most friendlies in the year, takes the opportunity to have friendlies in the US whenever they can. Thus they are one of the sides that plays the most non-FIFA date friendlies. With non-FIFA date friendlies, clubs don’t have to release their players, so it should be known that only local league players get to play those friendlies. Unfortunately, a lot of times the public is ignorant of this small detail, especially the people that the game is being sold to. It’s because of that that a lot of criticism is done toward these type of games.

Personally, I feel that criticism is unjust. The opportunity to play these type of games is a good opportunity to see young players or local players that may not have the chance in official FIFA date friendlies. Official friendlies are scarce and it looks like they will be even more scarce with the UEFA and CONCACAF starting confederation nations tournaments.

As such, comments like Tuca’s have created a climate in which Mexican fans complain and blame these friendlies for a lot of the problem the Mexican team has. Many fans don’t know that there is no alternative in non-FIFA dates and Mexico isn’t losing a friendly in Italy against Italy by playing a non-FIFA date friendly in the U.S. The alternative to those friendlies is not playing at all. It’s a question of playing a friendly or not one at all.

Ferretti’s criticism fell apart after the Costa Rica game. Mexico had played with mostly Liga MX players against the United States under Ferretti in September, but that game had been their second game and most “European” players had been recalled by their clubs. Seeing it as a friendly, it’s understandable they did so. But the Costa Rica game was the first game of two friendlies, which means Tuca planed on doing this from the start.

That is understandable, but it begs the question of why was Ferretti against going with those kind of lineups before? If he points to his criticism of “poor Mexican expats that pay money to see this game”, then the question is why were Monterrey fans not being cheated by doing so?

Ferretti is right in going with his plan of using only a domestic starting XI against Costa Rica, which not only provided valuable experience to a number of players but they also got the victory. The problem, again, is he did what he had complained about the FMF and other coaches doing before. In theory, it is actually worse considering he is taking an official FIFA-date friendly and playing only Liga MX players.

At the end, non-FIFA dates shouldn’t be vilified like they have, and Ferretti should start the movement to stop “amistoso molero” from being a bad word in Mexico.