November 6 – Peru’s team doctor says strict controls on what they gave their players means that there was no way they could have administered the stimulant that led FIFA banning their captain Paolo Guerrero from two crucial upcoming World Cup play-off matches against New Zealand.
The ban rules out Guerrero from both the first leg in Wellington next weekend and the return in Lima four days later and is a huge blow to Peru, who are hoping to reach the World Cup Finals for the first time since 1982.
Guerrero tested positive after the Argentina-Peru match on October 5 and was handed a preliminary 30-day suspension, the Peruvian Football Federation announced on Friday.
“At the national team, we are aware of what anti-doping control is,” team doctor Julio Segura told Peru’s Radio Nacional. “So we don’t use any substances that produce doping (results). It’s a shame what happened with Paolo but I am sure there was no problem from our side.”
Guerrero, 33, has scored 32 goals in 83 appearances and Peru’s most inspirational player. He was replaced in the squad on Saturday by Yordy Reyna Serna who came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw against Colombia that guaranteed Peru’s place in the play-offs.
Guerrero’s suspension has even led to country’s president weighing in.
“This seems terrible to me (that he will miss the play-offs) but first and foremost, we have to understand what happened,” Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told a local radio station.
“Everyone in Lima takes some kind of anti-histamine because of the awful climate here in winter. Maybe he took an anti-histamine and it would be unfair if he was punished for that.”
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