Peru’s World Cup hopes do not rest on the participation of captain Paolo Guerrero — suspended over doping — midfielder Renato Tapia said.
Flamengo striker Guerrero is set to miss Russia 2018 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) earlier this week extended his ban from six to 14 months.
“Our squad does not depend on any one player, we’re a team,” said Tapia, a 22-year-old who plays for Feyenoord in the Netherlands.
“We’ve already proved that we can do well without Paolo, and without other players too.”
The 34-year-old Guerrero, capped 86 times by his country, was hoping to play in the World Cup for the first time. Peru had not qualified since 1982 — two years before he was born.
He had been included in the extended 25-man World Cup squad on Sunday as his initial six-month ban had expired a week earlier.
But after both the World Anti-doping Agency and Guerrero himself appealed to CAS — the former seeking a longer ban, the latter hoping for total exoneration — the sports tribunal opted to increase his suspension.
He had failed an anti-doping test over traces of cocaine in his sample.
Guerrero claimed, following the CAS ruling, that he was “a victim of injustice”, while Peru President Martin Vizcarra has vowed to help the striker overturn his ban in the Swiss federal courts.