Reinaldo Rueda, coach of the Colombia National Team, released yesterday the list of 20 players from a team more experimental than anything else, with 16 players from the local league, plus two from MLS and Juan Fernando Quintero, to face Honduras in Fort Lauderdale on January 16, in the only trial before the resumption of the tie, 12 days later, against Peru in Barranquilla.
Initially there were 17 locals, but Sebastián Gómez, from Nacional, was left out after testing positive for covid-19. His replacement was called Yeimar Gómez, a defender for the Seattle Sounders.
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Only two players from the usual base of the National Team
It was already known that Rueda could not count on his European base: it is not a Fifa date and that makes the transfer of footballers not mandatory.
The coach, then, made use of only two players from the base team of the tie: Quintero, who hopes to complete his move from Shenzhen of China to River Plate of Argentina, and Miguel Borja, the most brilliant recruitment of Colombian football this semester, after Junior bought his sports rights from Palmeiras.
Neither Teófilo nor Mackalister on Reinaldo Rueda’s list
One of the most striking decisions of Reinaldo Rueda’s call was that, once again, he left Teófilo Gutiérrez, the local League player with the most goals scored in the Colombian National Team, out of the list: 15 in 51 games. Teo, 36, was one of the key players in the campaign that led Cali to the tenth star.
However, that was not enough for Rueda, who had already been asked, on the double date of November, about Gutiérrez’s situation: “Regarding Teófilo, all the players who are at a certain level are eligible. Everything is going to go through some situations of priorities and of foreseeing or anticipating what the future of the National Team is. With all the respect and admiration for what Teófilo has been doing at Cali, I believe that each one of them had their time in the National Team “, he said then.
“They are tastes, they are different moments, different interpretations. Expect that the decisions that are carried out, in my case as the leader of this group, are the best ones to achieve the results ”, he added.
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Nor was David Mackalister Silva, the captain of Millonarios, chosen in the El País survey of Uruguay as the best player in the Colombian league. Although Rueda has not given explanations about his call, in Silva’s case the same reasons as Teo would weigh: he is 35 years old.
The creative flyer options to be tested
Rueda bets on Quintero as the option to play with a creative midfielder, although there is also Cristian Arango, from Los Angeles FC, who in recent months has played more as a forward striker than as a backward man. The two could be alternatives for the main team if James Rodríguez still does not regain his level in Qatar.
Of the three finalists last year, Millonarios contributed three players (Andrés Felipe Román, Andrés Llinás and Stiven Vega), and Cali, another two (Andrés Colorado and Harold Preciado).
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It is striking that he did not summon any member of Deportes Tolima, champion in the first semester and runner-up in the second. Unofficial versions speak that no one from that club was called due to a covid-19 outbreak at that campus.
Rueda has six newcomers on his charts: Colorado, Diego Novoa, Homer Martínez, Daniel Giraldo, Yaser Asprilla and Fredy Hinestroza. Thus begins the first experiment of 2022.
Jose Orlando Ascencio
Sports Deputy Editor
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