LIMA - Peru will look to once-shamed,
German-based strikers Claudio Pizarro and Paolo Guerrero to help
them reach the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
There is no reprieve in mind for Jefferson Farfan, however,
after his ban for a late-night casino outing, coach Sergio
Markarian told Reuters.
Markarian, a tough-talking Uruguayan who took charge in
July, said Pizarro and Guerrero would bring much-needed
experience to his Peru side preparing for the Copa America in
Argentina next July.
"In March, we plan to play in Europe and I think that will
be the moment for them to come back into the national team,"
Markarian, a former Paraguay coach, said in an interview.
Peru hope to line up opponents for friendlies on the two
FIFA dates in March for Euro 2012 qualifiers, when some European
teams have byes.
Pizarro, who plays for Werder Bremen and holds the record as
the highest-scoring foreign player in the German league, has not
worn Peru's white-and-red colours since December 2007 when he
was sanctioned for indiscipline during the qualifiers for the
2010 World Cup.
Even after an 18-month suspension was reduced to three
months, the 32-year-old was overlooked by coach Jose del Solar
for the rest of the qualifying campaign in which Peru finished
bottom of the 10-nation South American group.
Markarian said that for the Copa America, where Peru have
been grouped with Uruguay, Chile and Mexico, he wanted to build
the team around Hamburg's Guerrero, a 26-year-old who also has
an act of indiscipline with the national team in his past, and
27-year-old Fiorentina midfielder Juan Vargas.
"A very good cup will help us prepare well for the World
Cup, which is the big objective," he said as he contemplated the
task of steering Peru, quarter-finalists in 1970, to the finals
for the first time since 1982 in Spain.
"We have some very good players but not so many. Outside of
these, we have others who need to improve and we're working on
that so they can become consolidated (as a team)."
Markarian faced his own crisis of indiscipline at the Peru
helm and dealt with it quickly and firmly, banning Schalke 04
striker Farfan for going out late to a casino without permission
while on tour in Panama in October.
"I think I made the right move because I cut out all chances
of the national team being hurt or attacked and today we have a
team without any problems," he said.
Asked if he would reconsider Farfan's ban, Markarian said:
"I have no reason right now to consider anything... and I don't
have a future plan (on the issue)."
He said Peru's principal virtue was "the very good,
professional attitude of the majority of the players who are
keen to do something good for their national team."
Apart from the suspension of Farfan and two other players
who went to the casino with him, "the lads have worked and
trained well, they have behaved well on the pitch and, in the
hotels, they have acted like gentlemen, on the trips and in
concentration they have been magnificent."
Markarian is working on increasing the strength in depth of
the Peru team, "the quantity of players that can be
called-up... to allow us to have a competitive team. We're
working on that, adding players to that small list of
Peru will play Paraguay in a friendly in February and hope
to set up another with Bolivia.
"I think new things will happen in South America. And, God
willing, one of those new things will mean Peru have taken their
"We must maintain our identity somehow, while improving our
efficiency in defence and effectiveness in attack."
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