World Cup 2014: Avoiding the “Jamaicón Syndrome”

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One of the many pitfalls menacing the National Teams’ quest towards the World Cup is homesickness.

Mexicans famously have called it the “Jamaicón Syndrome,” in honor of 1950s player José “Jamaicón” Villegas. En route to Sweden 1958, the team embarked on a practice tour through Canada and Portugal. The tough defender from Guadalajara was so despondent, so nostalgic for spices and condiments close to his heart that he seemed to be channeling young Werther or some other Romantic figure lamenting their fate.

Among the many tasks of the supporting cast of characters that travels with the team is managing to stave off these overpowering feelings of melancholia. This World Cup in Brazil favors Latinos: it is not that difficult to find national spices, to fashion a recipe or to mimic some local drink. National sides, nonetheless are taking every precaution possible. Some, like the US and Mexico have announced that the player’s families will be able to visit and even have sex if they like. Others are not that open-minded. Here is a list of some of the steps taken to avert the terrible “Jamaicón Syndrome”:

It is said that Argentina have included in their luggage 30 kilos of dulce de leche and 100 kilos of yerba mate.

México‘s chef, Sergio Pérez informed he is carrying an undisclosed amount of chiles and an assortment of spices, even ingredients to make pozole so that the players feel “embraced a bit with some of our local dishes.”

Jorge Sampaoli, Chile’s manager, is taking the opposite approach: he has seven rules, including a ban for his players from having sex or drinking soda. Also, their food will be made only with Brazilian ingredients: a Spartan approach for La Roja.

No news so far from the other camps, but each will surely be looking for ways to fend off the depression in their own ways.