Peru to play at altitude in World Cup qualifiers

February 13, 2007

LIMA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Peru may play their home matches at high altitude in an attempt to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1982, a leading soccer official said on Tuesday.

Juvenal Silva, head of the Peruvian federation's national team committee, said he was tired of seeing Peru lose home matches in Lima at sea level.

Instead, he suggested switching to the historic city of Cuzco, 3,300 metres above sea level in the Andes, for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers which are due to start later this year.

'I've watched for 20 years as the other teams have come and walked over us in Lima,' he told El Comercio in an interview.

'If the altitude of Cuzco helps us get better results, we should use it.'

'I don't want to comment any further because some teams, such as Brazil and Argentina, could put on pressure to avoid this.'

Silva also suggested forming a team of home-based players for home matches and foreign-based players for away games.

'We'd have to look for players from Peruvian clubs. We could form two teams...However, these things will be decided by the coach and we'll let him do his work,' he said.

Peru won only three of nine home games in the qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup.

South American rivals Bolivia and Ecuador both play home matches at high altitude.