World Cup quarter-finalists
Paraguay, who are in danger of failing to reach the 2014 finals
in Brazil, named Uruguayan Gerardo Pelusso as coach on Tuesday.
Pelusso replaces former World Cup defender Francisco Arce,
who was sacked after his team plummeted to one place from bottom
of the South American group.
The 58-year-old Pelusso, who has left Paraguayan first
division side Olimpia to take charge of the ailing national
team, was picked because of his experience in local football.
“"We wanted a coach who was working in the domestic game. I
think he knows the scene and was the only candidate we had,"
Paraguayan Football Association (APF) president Juan Angel
Napout told Primero de Marzo radio station.
“"We're convinced this was the best choice and that we can
go out to fight for our qualification. He'll decide who he works
with, he's very enthusiastic with this opportunity and we in
being able to count on him."
Pelusso could not have asked for a tougher start as
Paraguay, with four points from five matches, face a critical
game away to Argentina on Sept. 7. They then have a home clash
with much-improved Venezuela four days later.
His debut, though, will be an away friendly against China on
The Uruguayan, who steered Olimpia to the Paraguayan league
title last year, is expected to give the national team a sounder
tactical base and lean on the experience of players such as
Roque Santa Cruz and Oscar Cardozo who had been largely
overlooked by the 41-year-old Arce.
Pelusso, who has coached in five different South American
countries including his homeland, steered Alianza Lima to the
Peruvian title in 2006 and Universidad de Chile to the
semi-finals of the Libertadores Cup, the continent's champions
league, in 2010.
Arce, whose coaching CV was limited to steering Rubio Nu to
promotion to the first division, was a risky bet for the APF
after the success of Argentine Gerardo Martino, who steered
Paraguay to the last eight in the World Cup for the first time
in 2010 and the final of the Copa America in Argentina last
Arce was sacked after a 3-1 defeat away to Bolivia in June,
despite spending three weeks with his team at high altitude
preparing to cope with the rarefied air in La Paz, nearly 4,000
metres above sea level.
Bolivia coach Gustavo Quinteros resigned after the victory,
his first in 16 matches in charge, leaving the team equal on
points with Paraguay and one above bottom-placed Peru.
Quinteros was unhappy with a recent decision by Bolivia's
first division clubs to shorten the length of time the national
team coach has with the players.
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