CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Frustration and indignation are painted on the faces of Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and midfielder Antonio Naelson “Sinha.”
On Thursday, the Mexican Soccer Federation revealed that Ochoa and Sinha, along with Francisco Rodríguez, Cristian Bermúdez and Édgar Dueñas all tested positive for a banned substance. Each player received immediate suspensions from domestic and international play, and Ochoa and Sinha couldn’t hide how confused and upset they were by the events.
“It was a surprise for all of us,” said Ochoa following Mexico’s 5-0 win on Thursday against Cuba. “We don’t have anything to hide. We’re here. We showed up. Our conscience is clear because we haven’t done anything wrong.”
Still, Ochoa says that the fact that his name has been linked with performance enhancing drugs – especially when he’s been rumored to be Europe-bound during the transfer window – is upsetting.
“Of course it’s upsetting that these things happen. It’s something that can happen to anyone in any restaurant or any place. Unfortunately, it happened to us,” said Ochoa. “But we’re calm because we’ve been told that it’s a substance that lasts three days in your body and when we had the tests done, we had been in training camp [in late May].”
Sinha, meanwhile, said the topic is quite confusing and hopes that everything is cleared up as soon as possible for the good of his exemplary career, which he doesn’t want stained by accusations of doping.
“I don’t know anything. I don’t know where this situation comes from, but I’m sure we didn’t consume anything that’s not totally checked,” Sinha said. “If I had an explanation, I’d gladly share it, but I don’t know anything.
“I didn’t commit any crimes nor mistakes. My career won’t be stained by something I didn’t do. Everyone knows me – 14 years in Mexican soccer and, thank God, I had never had a problem.”
Rather than sad for the series of events that have put his name in question, Sinha says he feels angry, as this bombshell hits just days after the death of his father.
“Right now I’m mad. Sadness will com later,” he said. “It’s just anger at not knowing what’s going on. We ate the same thing everyone else ate. Unfortunately, we were the unlucky ones.
“I had just been getting up from a big blow and I was hit with another. It’s tough, especially when you know you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Both Sinha and Ochoa, as well as the other three players implicated in the matter, will travel to Los Angeles on Friday to undergo new tests at the laboratories of UCLA, who conducted the initial tests back in May.