Bolivia soccer team reports eight positive cases ahead of World Cup qualifiers

La Paz: Two members of the Bolivia national soccer team have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected players in Verde’s squad to eight.

Forward Bruno Miranda and goalkeeper Daniel Vaca were ordered to self-isolate on Monday evening and will undergo further PCR tests within 48 hours, according to a statement from the Bolivian Football Federation (FBF).

“The players are asymptomatic with low viral loads,” the statement said, adding that both were in the “final stage” of recovery. The news came a day after the FBF said six more people had been diagnosed with the virus, including midfielder Alexis Ribera and five unnamed players from local club Bolivar.

Head coach Cesar Farias has 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 the 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 in Qatar’s premier football tournament, which will be played in November and December. The fifth-placed team will qualify for the Intercontinental Playoffs.

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