LOS ANGELES -- Antonio "Turco" Mohamed has dared to face his ghosts. Especially the one that plagues him and punishes him the most: Miguel "Piojo" Herrera's Club America.
In a chat with Futbol Picante on ESPN Deportes, Mohamed said he considers it inappropriate and unfair that his start with Las Aguilas (the Eagles) -- which he has turned into Las Avestruces (the Ostriches) -- is being compared with Herrera's tenure.
Where is the injustice that Mohamed proclaims?
El Turco requests that his first seven games ("I've only been here five days") be evaluated under the same lens as El Piojo's first seven games when he arrived at Coapa.
He really shouldn't have asked for that.
After seven fixtures, El Piojo had earned 12 points, the same total that Mohamed boasts presently. The difference lies in the output: nine goals scored and five conceded under Herrera, compared to seven goals scored and four conceded under Mohamed.
The difference is that El Piojo was handed a team in tatters, second-to-last in the standings, which had just earned 15 out of a possible 51 points in the 2011 Apertura, in which coaching was split between Carlos Reinoso and Alfredo Tena.
Meanwhile, Mohamed has received a team that is well-equipped, with the strong track record of being champion and runner-up in the last two competitions, and the added bonus of contributing to rescue a World Cup berth in the playoff series against New Zealand.
When El Piojo took over Club America he had to carry some dead weight, including Daniel 'Rolfi' Montenegro, today among the soccer destitute. He also inherited Rosinei, who Club America hadn't been able to get rid of.
Adding to that are their extremely opposite ways. While Herrera's Aguilas satiated fans' thirst for enjoyment from the start, Mohamed's 'Avestruces' have let down Club America's diehard fans, who've gone from being hopeful to feeling misled because they dreamt that by having an established, solid team they would follow along those same lines.
The Futbol Picante panel of experts questioned Mohamed about the refereeing and his silence in the face of some refereeing gifts.
El Turco refused to tackle a topic in which he knows he could get hurt, because up to now he has been blessed in this area.
At least two games (against Tigres and Leon), i.e., six points, were handed to him on a silver platter via mistakes, mind you, refereeing mistakes, shameless and dubious, but which the referees called mistakes. One could even allude to the team's dominance of Atlante. And of course, we can't forget that against Xolos, Club America was wronged. But, probably because of that, Mohamed doesn't want to discuss the refereeing.
Also, he claims to be a dedicated and delicate scholar of how to move all your pieces in the art of playing soccer, but he can't explain to ESPN Deportes the way in which he has curbed Miguel Layun, his player with the greatest attacking skills.
Mohamed claims that up to now he has not been questioned or pressured or interrogated by Club America executives, despite the two losses in a row. At the same time, he does not seem to be immersed in the passion that comes with facing Pumas UNAM, or to embrace the responsibility of earning a win in that rivalry.
Furthermore, Herrera's balance in the Mexican Clasico, with an appetite for good soccer and for a good show, was favorable, although it must be pointed out that refereeing and luck were on his side versus Chivas at Estadio Omnilife, due to mistakes made by the referees and injuries on the Guadalajara team.
Thus, the healthiest thing for Mohamed at this time is to not compare himself with the ghost that is Herrera's team, particularly, I insist, given the great difference between both gourmet soccer appetites.