Colombia boss Rueda backs call to postpone World Cup qualifiers

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BOGOTA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — Colombia head coach Reinaldo Rueda has endorsed calls by Peru boss Ricardo Gareca to postpone the next double-header of South American World Cup qualifiers.

Gareca last month urged the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) to shift the matches, currently scheduled for next month, because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a very respectable concept,” Rueda told reporters on Thursday. “It is something we have faced since last year and there is [still]a lot of uncertainty,” added the 63-year-old, who replaced Carlos Quieroz as Colombia’s manager in January.

Peru are due to face Bolivia in La Paz on March 25 and Venezuela in Lima five days later. Gareca has said that much of his squad has been unable to train properly because of measures imposed by authorities to stop the spread of the virus.

Colombia, who are due to meet Brazil in Barranquilla on March 26 and Paraguay in Asuncion four days later, have faced similar problems, according to Rueda.

“It’s a matter for CONMEBOL to sort out. Each country is in a different situation,” he said, alluding to the advantage for teams such as Brazil, whose local and Europe-based players have not encountered restrictions in the past six months.

Colombia are currently seventh in the 10-team CONMEBOL zone qualifying standings with just one win from four matches. Peru are ninth, having yet to register a victory.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament will earn an automatic berth at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff. Enditem

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