Montevideo, Oct 6 (IANS) Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez acknowledged on Monday the difficulty that his team will face against Bolivia in the first match of the World Cup Russia 2018 qualifiers due to the altitude and added that he is prioritising his players’ “mental preparation” ahead of the clash.
“It is a difficult undertaking and has always been,” Tabarez said on Monday before setting off for Santa Cruz, the Bolivian city where Uruguay will stay until the day of the match when they will travel to the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Bolivia’s capital is notoriously difficult for sporting events due to the city being 3,600 meters above sea level making it the world’s highest administrative capital.
“Statistically things haven’t gone well for us when we play in La Paz. It is very difficult and I don’t think this match will be any different,” said the coach, highlighting that Uruguay have never won a match played in Bolivia’s capital.
“In the short time left before the match we will work a lot on mental preparation which I think is important to reinforce the idea that we are going to look for wins in every match,” said Tabarez.
“It is difficult to play in these conditions but we have to endure it and focus on the soccer aspects. We are playing against Bolivia and not against the altitude,” concluded Uruguay’s coach.
After the match against Bolivia, the South American side will play Colombia on October 13 at the Centenario Stadium in Uruguay’s capital city of Montevideo.
Uruguay’s two key players, forwards Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, will miss out on the first few qualifiers after receiving four and two match bans respectively as part of a disciplinary punishment.