FMF chief: Sven wasn't first choice, but we're happy

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LOS ANGELES ( -- Justino Compeán, President of the Mexican Football Association, has stressed that Mexican national team manager Sven-Göran Eriksson is a longterm appointment.

Speaking at the Honda Symposium, sponsored by Futbol Forever Fundacion, Compeán spoke candidly about hiring the Swede and the future of the national team.

"He is a mid-to-long term appointment, not short term," Compeán declared.

The fed boss was less clear when explaining the issues surrounding Mexico's qualification for World Cup 2010. Mexico leads its round three qualifying group, but by a mere point, and has struggled to close out games. It is still not assured of advancing to the Hexagonal, and must earn a result against Honduras on Nov. 19.

"We have not gotten points as a visiting team," Compeán said. "Something is happening and we're concerned."

That the association would be concerned enough to shift managers at this stage is unlikely. Compeán recently oversaw the removal of manager Hugo Sánchez from the hot seat of El Tri and the hiring of Eriksson.

However, Compeán admitted that Eriksson was the third choice. The FMF first approached Mexican Javier Aguirre, but the Atlético Madrid manager felt a debt to his current employers, especially as he had recently guided them into the Champions League. Then the budget prevented the hiring of Luis Felipe Scolari, who is now presiding over the billions at Chelsea.

The FMF finally turned to the former England manager Eriksson, fresh from his firing at Manchester City. Compeán pointed out that Mexico has a strong belief in youth and is looking to Eriksson to develop that at the international level.

Mexican clubs are required to field players under 21-year-olds for at least 1,000 minutes throughout the course of the season. All of the clubs bar one have already reached the minimum, and Chivas de Guadalajara has racked up more than 4,000 minutes of youth time.