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Carlos Valderrama has praised the progress of the Peruvian National team, backing them to make it to the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Valderama holds the record number of appearances for Colombia and guided his side to three World Cups in a row. Since he retired in 1998 Colombia have not qualified for a World Cup, so he can to an extent appreciate the frustration of Peru’s footballing community who have gone since 1982 for a World Cup appearance.
Valderrama has backed Peru, who finished third in Copa America last year, to qualify for their first tournament in over 30 years. Peru out performed Brazil and Argentina in last year’s tournament and striker Paolo Guerrero was the tournament’s top scorer.
Valderrama was keen to stress thtat the task would not be an easy one, but one he thought Peru were up to. “Getting to a World Cup is not so easy, the qualifiers are tough. In Peru generations have passed without managing it, although they have some great players, because there was no project or organisation.”
The Columbian pointed to the similarities between the Peru and Colombia set ups. “Every time a couple of games are lost the coach is changed. Hard work over time does not get respected”. Peru currently sit eighth in the Conembol standings but Valderrama believes that if they stick with their coach they could be in with a real chance. With Brazil gaining an automatic berth in the tournament as hosts more than 50% of those in qualifiers could make it, with up to five available for the nine teams in the Conembol region. Valderrama was also keen to stress that his Colombian side could join the Peruvian’s in Brazil but must also stick with their coach and think in the long term. With sides such as Argentina, Uruguay and Chile looking strong in recent years the task will not be easy, but one that either of these sleeping giants could be up to.