In last week’s monthly Owners’ Assembly, there were a few changes announced not only in Liga MX, but many in the new Liga de Expansión MX as well. We touched on one of them over the weekend with the Zacatepec franchise relocating to Morelia to become Atlético Morelia. Another important change occurred with the Cafetaleros de Chiapas franchise, as they were relocated to Cancún, Quintana Roo to officially be named Cancún FC. This is no surprise given that Atlante, the team that occupied the city for the past 13 years, relocated back to Mexico City. The fans in Cancún were used to having a professional football team, thus Cancún FC.
Yesterday, the newborn franchise made what might turn out to be its most important announcement of the entire offseason, as they announced Christian “Chaco” Giménez as their new head coach. Giménez played most of his career in Mexico, with his tenures in Pachuca and Cruz Azul standing out from the rest. He only won one league title with Pachuca back in 2007, but won a CONCACAF Champions’ League with Cruz Azul as well in 2014. He called it quits following the Apertura 2018 season, after a 20-year playing career. Quite remarkable.
Following his retirement, it wasn’t long before “Chaco” joined Fox Sports as an analyst, participating in both live game broadcasts as well as acclaimed show La Última Palabra, a football panel discussion format program. In yesterday night’s show, he announced he was leaving the channel to join his squad in Cancún and take on this new challenge. The Argentinian mentioned that he received job offers a year ago, but felt he wasn’t ready.
This will be “Chaco’s” first coaching position experience of any kind. He is fully aware that there is no chance of his squad being promoted this year, but knows it’s important to begin his career somewhere. We all know what his ultimate goal must be; to coach either Pachuca or Cruz Azul, the teams he holds dear and are no doubt anticipating his return. But he must gain the experience necessary to lead those kinds of teams, something he does not yet have.
No matter how good a player once was, transitioning into head coach and translating it into success is a totally different challenge. But this is no doubt a smart move by Cancún FC front office, at least in the sense of getting people hyped about their new project, sell tickets, and sell team merch. Not to mention, you get a guy with a winning personality who has tasted success and knows what it takes to win. He was also a player with great technical skill, so the challenge will be to pass his knowledge correctly on to his pupils. If he can do that, I see no reason why he can’t be a successful head coach in Mexico at the highest level.
With no moves announced so far regarding the team roster, it’s worth mentioning that Giménez has a tall task in front of him, as Cafetaleros marched dead last in the league table last season when the COVID pandemic struck. After 8 games played, they had only 1 win and had lost the other 7. The only ‘recognizable’ player he has on the current roster is 33-year-old Christian “Hobbit” Bermúdez, who is no doubt in the final stages of his career. So, “Chaco” must get to work immediately as Cancún FC have one year to field a competitive team by the time the promotion window opens once again.