March 13, 2009

Mexico's Director of National Teams resigned on Friday following the Under-20 national team's failure to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Guillermo Cantu walked away from the job, citing himself as the lone person to blame for the debacle.

"I am responsible for the national teams and all of their results. The Under-20 team is no exception and because of that I need to go," Cantu said.

The Under-20s lost twice and tied one game in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament held in Trinidad & Tobago earlier this week. Federation officials had blamed former coach Jesus "Chucho" Ramirez for the squad's performance and for abandoning the team - Ramirez left last month to join Club America - but Ramirez said the team was in good hands.

Cantu tried to deflect from the criticism that has been launched at Ramirez.

"I know there has been many things said about Jesus Ramirez and I would like for that to stop definitively," Cantu said. "I have a great relationship with him. We grew together. The step he took is a great one for his career and I knew sooner or later it would happen. That there was nobody prepared to step in and take over is my fault. I understand that, and that is why I am here today."

Formerly president of Santos Laguna, Cantu assumed his duties with the federation in 2004. Under his watch, the national teams have had increasingly poor performances. Mexico won the Under-17 world title imn 2005 but failed to qualify for the 2007 tournament. Mexico's Under-23 national team did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics and the Under-20 team now adds to the list. The senior national team has also struggled in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Cantu, though, said he was disappointed in having to go.

"Without a doubt I am saddened but grateful," Cantu said. "The passion I have for this sport does not diminish, on the contrary it has grown during these years." --

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