The last time it happened, Peru had just returned to being a democracy, on the pitch there was the crystalline talent of Teófilo Cubillas and the single South American group of World Cup qualifiers did not yet exist. It was September 1981, when one of the best generations of Peruvian football gained access to its last World Cup, that of Spain ’82, winning its group in which Colombia and Uruguay were inserted.
Today, 36 years later, the whole of Peru returns to play for a World Cup qualification, led by another generation of remarkable talents led by captain Paolo Guerrero. Across the country, the last match of the Russia 2018 qualifiers against Colombia is described as historic.
And both the players and the coaching staff are aware of the significance of this match. In particular, Nestor Bonillo, the Argentine athletic trainer of the national team, who spoke to MondoFutbol, exclusively, a few hours before kick-off. “We are aware of the responsibility that comes with having come this far and we are doing everything humanly possible to win the last game,” he said.
A last decisive match for the fate of Peru, Colombia and not only (the fate of Argentina may also depend on this match), which Bicolor has reached after an exponential growth, starting from the third place in the Copa América 2011, which made it a competitive selection.
I believe that Peru is on a par with the major South American national teams and, if we consider South America as an important corner of the football world, I am sure that Peru can compete against everyone,
says Bonillo, who has worked alongside Argentine coach Ricardo Galeca for a lifetime.
Prof. Bonillo has been following Tigre since 2008, since the days of the University of Lima, the capital where the Peruvian people could return to celebrate access to a World Cup, thanks to a squad of players who only lacked awareness of their abilities. An awareness that, as Bonillo points out, Gareca has been able to instill in everyone’s head: “Ricardo has always believed in Peruvian players, we knew that Peru has not only a past but also a present of players with great technical, tactical and physical talent.”
It was necessary to work a lot on the emotional aspect and the great merit of the Tigre, among many, was to convince the boys who possess the qualities required by today’s football to be able to compete.
And who knows, maybe one day not too far away, some of them may see their name engraved at the Estadio Nacional in Lima, as happened to Teófilo Cubillas and all those who have brought the honor of Peruvian sport to the top.
For the great fans of fútbol and its language, Spanish, here are Bonillo’s words delivered exclusively to
directly from Lima.
Thanks to Sabrina Uccello for the collaboration
Cover ©photo t13.cl
Peru ©depor.com fan photos
Photo Ricardo Gareca ©LaPresse