Guillermo Ochoa Called Up by Mexico for Match vs. Nigeria

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2014

Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa lies on the pitch during a training session ahead of a 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Costa Rica, in San Jose, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
Moises Castillo/Associated Press

Mexico national coach Miguel Herrera has called goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa into his squad to face Nigeria as preparation for next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

The newly appointed boss—who led El Tri to a 9-3 aggregate win over New Zealand during the tournament's qualification playoffs—wishes to provide many players with an opportunity to impress before deciding his final squad.

As reported by MedioTiempo and via Tom Marshall of, Ochoa is the first player to benefit from Herrera's clean slate:

"Like I've told all of them, I’m not guaranteeing a starting spot to anyone, just the opportunity to come and compete and win over the coach," said Herrera.

Ochoa, who currently plies his trade at Ligue 1 club Ajaccio, has plenty of international experience under his belt. The 28-year-old, who first linked up with the national squad in 2005, was also part of a Mexico side that struggled to impress during qualification for next summer's festivities.

The experienced stopper made four appearances during the process, as recorded by Soccerway. Mexico's poor performances heaped huge pressure on the team, but Ochoa was largely forced to look on as Jose de Jesus Corona claimed the No. 1 spot.

Club America keeper Moises Munoz was given an opportunity toward the end of qualification, ensuring Ochoa has plenty of work to do if he is to head to the World Cup with a chance of playing.

Bruno Magalhaes/Associated Press

Despite his inconsistent international career, Ochoa has remained a prominent figure between the sticks for his club. He has played 22 times this season—missing just one fixture so far—but Ajaccio's positioning at the foot of the French top flight isn't going to help Ochoa state his case, per

Ochoa's work has been endless in France, as noted by OptaJean:

Herrera's willingness to provide a range of players with the chance to shine should be commended.

Mexico have progressed through an extremely rough time in recent months—highlighted by Herrera being the fourth national coach since September—so it's important for the leader to show he is leading the team into a new era.

As noted in Marshall's report, Ochoa is one of five goalkeepers who will be considered for a starting berth in Brazil. All it takes is one memorable performance to tie down that first-team spot.