KEIR RADNEDGE reports on a cultural cocktail 

—- Way back in football history – well, 1970 and 1986 – Mexico’s fans adopted Brazil as their second-favourite nation on the realistic assessment that El Tri would not last long even as hosts in the World Cup finals.

Brazil were duly grateful. They had the Mexican nation fully engaged in support from the knockout stages onwards on both occasions. That worked perfectly in 1970 when Brazil won the Cup; not so well in 1986 when they reached ‘only’ the quarter-finals.

Positive images of Mexico - above all the 2012 Olympic Games victory

Of course it is too much for El Tri to hope that, assuming they qualify for Brazil 2014, the local fans will reciprocate – particularly with memories fresh of Mexico defeating Brazil in the Olympic football final last year.

However, one man is determined that the marvels of Mexico will not be lost on Brazil, the Brazilians and also visiting fans to the World Cup finals in June and July of next year.

Flying fiesta

Javier Ruiz Galindo has made it his corporate life’s work to ramp up the image abroad of a nation which has had a mixed sort of press over the last decade or so.

Ruiz Galinho is managing director of a company called Una Probadita de Mexico (A Taste of Mexico) which is something of a promotional flying fiesta.

The project was launched 12 years ago and has brought Mexican culture to fans and events in Germany, the United States, Morocco and Argentina but also South Africa three years ago because the heart of the action is focused around each succeeding World Cup.

Ruiz Galindo moved to the US from Mexico 30 years ago and grew increasingly concerned than local caricatures of his homeland had no connection with the cultural reality.

What better way to reach out to an international audience than through the world’s greatest – and Mexico’s favourite – game?

He says: “I have been involved in event production for 20 years. In the States what I saw, for years, was a bad representation of Mexico. So I decided it would be a very important idea to change mind and perceptions – and then to take that out to the world and many other countries which did not, perhaps, know enough about Mexico.”

Artistic creativity

Ruiz Galindo already has his venues and projects lined up for Brazil next year when he expects 3,000 people a day to access the music, gastronomy, traditions and overall artistic creativity of Mexico . . . and watch Mexico’s matches on large screens.

Just in case there are any doubts about the support of the Mexican football establishment, federation president Justino Compean and Luis Quintero, head of travel specialist Grupo Mundomex, were in Rio de Janeiro for a presentation during last month’s Confederation Cup.

Mundomex is co-exclusive sales agent in Mexico for the World Cup hospitality programme. It expects 20,000 Mexican fans to make the trip to Brazil and has devised the allure of a cruise ship accommodation option.

Ruiz Galindo believes that “uniting the cultural flavours of Mexico with Brazil will prove to be a wondrous mix.”

Especially if both teams go a very long way in the finals . . .

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