BOGOTA (Reuters) – Defender Hector Quinones was the only newcomer in the Colombia squad named on Thursday for this month’s South American qualifiers against Bolivia and Venezuela.
The 21-year-old full back plays for Portuguese side Porto alongside fellow Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez and striker Jackson Martinez who were also picked by coach Jose Pekerman.
Colombia, third in the nine-nation South American group four points behind leaders Argentina, are at home to Bolivia on March 22 before playing away to Venezuela four days later.
Deportivo Cali goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, Colombia’s sole remaining active link with their last appearance at the finals in 1998, retained his place in Argentine Pekerman’s 26-man squad.
The 41-year-old former Independiente, Galatasaray and Cologne keeper, Colombia’s number one at the 1998 finals in France, is now behind David Ospina of Nice and Independiente Santa Fe’s Camilo Vargas in the pecking order.
The teams finishing in the top four places at the end of the qualifiers in October go through to the 2014 finals in Brazil.
The fifth-placed side will face Asia’s fifth-ranked qualifier in a two-legged playoff for another spot in the tournament.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; writing by Rex Gowar in London, editing by Ed Osmond)
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