- Rest of World
|Peru coach Sergio Markarián wary of his squad in backdrop of player strike|
The players' strike in Peru which left the opening weekend of the first division championship in chaos has given Tunisia an advantage for next week's friendly, according to Peru coach Sergio Markarián.
The Uruguayan, who has the task of steering Peru to their first World Cup finals since 1982, was without five San Martín players in Monday's practice due to the dissolution of the 2010 champions whose board decided to withdraw from the league (ADFP) in protest at the conflict with the players' union (SAPAF).
"Universidad San Martín's withdrawal and everything that's happened is lamentable. It's been a kind of domino (effect) of bad decisions," Markarián was quoted as saying on Monday by the daily El Comercio.
"I will face an international match with players who have not played for three months. We are giving Tunisia an advantage," he said of the February 29 away friendly in Rades.
He added that it was a good thing Peru's European exiles, who will not link up with the squad until after the weekend, were in mid-season. These include captain Juan Vargas of Fiorentina and Hamburg striker Paolo Guerrero, top scorer at the Copa América.
The championship kicked off at the weekend with teams fielding junior players because the professionals were on strike over money they are owed by a majority of the clubs including the big two, Universitario and Alianza Lima.
SAPAF called the strike after rejecting a plan from the ADFP for clubs to refinance their debts.
Universidad San Martín, one of the few teams in good financial order, said they were dissolving the club because their players had joined the strike. César Vallejo and Unión Comercio said they were following suit.
The experienced Markarián's appointment in 2010 has been a bright spot amid the current gloom in Peruvian football.
He steered the team to an unexpected third place at last year's Copa América in Argentina and is now looking to build a team that can reach the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
Peru are one from bottom of the South American qualifying group with three points.