The Costa Rican team called up 28 players for the first three dates of the CONCACAF qualifying round for the Qatar 2022 Men’s World Cup.
The squad includes the return of goalkeeper Keylor Navas, from French Paris Saint Germain.
These matches will be played on September 2, 5 and 8, against Panama, Mexico and Jamaica, respectively.
“You have to settle on experienced players,” said Colombian coach Luis Fernando Suárez, after announcing the names of those who will have the task of directing the World Cup efforts.
Suárez did not have the goalkeeper, a three-time Champions League champion with Real Madrid, in any of the commitments that he faced since taking office on July 1, when the player was injured. However, this time he did not hesitate to cite the most awarded player in the history of this country.
The Colombian also called other known names, such as Óscar Duarte, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell, all with two World Cups in tow.
However, he did not forget to give space to young figures of Costa Rican soccer, some of whom can be considered surprises in this call.
In the list he included Jewison Bennette, a teenager of 17 years and two months, who the week before in a friendly against El Salvador broke the mark of the youngest debutant in the history of his senior team. There is also Manfred Ugalde, 19 years old and member of Twente from the Netherlands, and Kenneth Vargas, also 19 years old and without prior La Sele appearances.
“You have to give young people wings. This is not going to be the only time we will include this type of footballer. They have to learn,” he said.
Costa Rica will begin working Sunday with mostly local soccer players, waiting for those who are active in Europe.
Suárez hopes to train on Monday with the full group, and on Wednesday the team will leave for Panama, where on Thursday the 2nd it will face the first game of this FIFA date.
The second will be on Sunday the 5th in Costa Rica and the third on Wednesday the 8th in Jamaica.
“Each game is worth three points and you have to try to win them. But against Panama it is gold, it is worth pure gold (…). In this tournament you have to win a lot from home, but also add a lot to the visit,” said the strategist.
Like the rest of the Latin American countries, Costa Rica awaits FIFA’s definition given the refusal of European clubs to release their players to some national teams, citing the Covid pandemic.
¡Convocados a #LaSele!
📋Estos son los jugadores elegidos por nuestro director técnico, Luis Fernando Suárez, para el inicio de la octagonal de Concacaf ante 🇵🇦,🇲🇽 y 🇯🇲.#VamosTicos | #FEDEFUTBOL100🇨🇷 pic.twitter.com/Bn1BeXLqLg
— FEDEFUTBOL Costa Rica (@fedefutbolcrc) August 26, 2021
The 28 summoned players are:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Paris Saint Germain, France), Leonel Moreira (Alajuelense), Aarón Cruz (Saprissa).
Defenders: Óscar Duarte (Levante, Spain), Keysher Fuller (Herediano), Kendall Waston (Saprissa), Francisco Calvo (Chicago Fire, United States), Ronald Matarrita (Cincinatti FC, United States), Bryan Oviedo (Copenhagen FC, Denmark) , Ricardo Blanco (Saprissa), Fernán Faerron (Alajuelense), Juan Pablo Vargas (Millonarios, Colombia), Giancarlo González (Alajuelense).
Midfielders: Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruña, Spain), Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano), Jefferson Brenes (Herediano), Jimmy Marín (Saprissa), David Guzmán (Saprissa), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense), Barlon Sequeira (Alajuelense), Jewison Bennette (Herediano), Randall Leal (Nashville SC, United States), Ariel Lassiter (Houston Dynamo, United States).
Forwards: Manfred Ugalde (Twente, Netherlands), Joel Campbell (Monterrey, Mexico), Jonathan Moya (Angyang, South Korea), Jurguens Montenegro (Bolívar, Bolivia), Kenneth Vargas (Grecia).