ASUNCION - Holders Internacional of Brazil
were handed an easy group in Thursday's draw for next year's
Libertadores Cup, the South American champions' league.
Inter, who will take part in next month's Club World Cup in
Abu Dhabi, were drawn with Wilstermann of Bolivia, Ecuador's as
yet unknown second participants and the winners of a qualifying
tie between debutants Chiapas of Mexico and the third qualifier
Group Three, in contrast, looks tough with two former
champions, Uruguay's three-times winners Nacional and Argentinos
Juniors of Argentina, who lifted the trophy in 1985, America of
Mexico and Brazil's third qualifier.
Santos, twice winners in Pele's heyday in the 1960s, are top
seeds in Group Five as winners of the Copa Brasil.
A majority of the teams who will take part will not be known
until next month when league championships wrap up around South
The competition will start on Jan. 22 with six qualifying
ties and end on June 22, a week before the Copa America for
national teams to be played in Argentina in July.
A novelty this year was seeding teams from Colombia,
Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela for the first time along with
Argentine and Brazilian participants. In 2012 the four will be
replaced by seeds from Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The winners of the Copa Sudamericana, the region's
equivalent to the Europa League, will qualify for the
Libertadores Cup for the first time.
Goias, who reached the final by eliminating Luiz Felipe
Scolari's Palmeiras on Wednesday in an all-Brazilian semi-final,
will be allowed to enter even though they were relegated from
the Brazilian first division last weekend.
They will meet Independiente of Argentina or Ecuadorean
holders LDU Quito in the final.
The draw at the South American Football Confederation's
Paraguayan headquarters was preceded by an emotional ceremony in
which an award was made to former players Salvador Cabanas and
Cabanas, a former Paraguay striker, was shot in the head in
a Mexico City bar in January and has been undergoing
rehabilitation, while Lobos is one of the 33 workers rescued
after the recent Chilean mining accident.
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