La Paz: Two members of Bolivia’s national football team have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of infected players in the Verde squad to eight.
Striker Bruno Miranda and goalkeeper Daniel Vaca were ordered to self-isolate on Monday evening and will undergo new PCR tests within 48 hours, according to a Bolivian Football Federation (FBF) statement.
“The players are asymptomatic, presenting a low viral load,” the statement said, adding that both were in the “final phase” of recovery. The news came a day after the FBF said six others were diagnosed with the virus, including midfielder Alexis Ribera and five unnamed players from local club Bolivar.
Head coach Cesar Farias placed Independiente Petrolero’s Emerson Velasquez, Yesit Martinez and William Velasco on standby as potential replacements for the infected players, Xinhua reports. Farias’ men are preparing for 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela in Caracas on January 28 and Chile in La Paz four days later.
Bolivia are currently eighth in the 10-team South American zone standings and remain hopeful of qualifying for their first World Cup since 1994.
The top four teams in the group will earn an automatic place at football’s showpiece tournament in Qatar, to be played in November and December. The fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff.