Imagine being in your mid-twenties and an international soccer superstar who's about to play on the biggest stage of your life. Now imagine being told you must stay abstinent while staying in one of the sexiest countries in the world.
Well manager, Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera, recently instilled this harsh reality on the Mexican National Team. He made it very clear that he wanted his professional athletes refraining from sex (also booze and red meat) for the entire World Cup. Should managers really be allowed to enforce this?
Herrera told Mexican newspaper Reforma, “If a player cannot endure a month or 20 days without having intercourse, then you are not prepared to be a professional.” He went on to say, “Let’s play a World Cup, we’re not going to a party.”
This is not the first time a call for abstinence has been demanded by a national team manager. During the 2010 World Cup, England’s manager Fabio Capello limited players from seeing their wives and girlfriends to one day after each game. He clearly did not want players “shagging” before any big matches. However, England had one of the worst World Cups ever, losing to Germany 4-1 in the first round of the knockout stage.
On the other hand, Brazil’s manager Luiz Scolari is forbidding only “acrobatic sex,” saying that normal sex is perfectly fine as long as it doesn’t get too creative in the bedroom. Herrera and Scolari aren’t the only managers going to Brazil who have had “the talk” with their teams. Chilean coach, Jorge Sampaoli, may have taken this to a new extreme, and not only forbidden sex but has also banned soft drinks. Even president of the Chilean Football Federation, Sergio Jadue, said, “Chile is not going to any receptions or the mall. Chile is going to play in a World Cup and it has to be taken serious and in a professional manner.”
Jurgen Klinsmann on the other hand is completely fine with his U.S. players having sex during the tournament. "Every nation is different. I’ve played in different countries where, you know, you didn’t see your girlfriend or your wife for two months…Every team and every country handles that differently, based on their culture. So I respect the Mexican approach because it’s more their culture at that moment. I think we have a group of guys together and an environment together that is very open, very casual. But once we go on the field for training and also for the games, we are very serious and down to business.” Way to go Jurgen.
These demands have raised questions over whether sex by athletes during lengthy competition truly affects their performance. Brazilian superstar Ronaldo has gone on Brazilian TV and said, “I have had sex several times before some games. It helps you concentrate…I have noticed that in some games that I played better because I had sex before them.” Even Juan Carlos Medina, a general coordinator of the sports department at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, a Mexico university, said, “It [sex] helps you feel relaxed…and this contributes to reduce the athlete’s anxiety levels before an important match.” So why then do managers feel the need to forbid their players from having sex? It seems to be that many managers don’t want to risk any distractions.
Despite the different opinions on this topic, we at The18 can’t imagine there will be many instances where Herrera or Sampaoli will truly be able to prevent their players from having sex before or after matches. We will have to see if Herrera’s demands actually limit any distractions for his players and allow them to play to their full potential. Mexico struggled to qualify for the World Cup, but they claim to be prepared to take on Cameroon on Day Two. Herrera has made it very clear he wants his players to be completely focused on the task at hand, but imagining him knocking down doors checking on his players is both amusing and, in reality, a little creepy.