A series of controversies involving striker Paolo Guerrero have overshadowed Peru’s build-up to Thursday’s friendly with Iraq in Dubai.
The Corinthians frontman expressed a desire to remain in Brazil to help his club in their push for the Serie A title, but was called up by national coach Pablo Bengoechea nonetheless.
However, the former Bayern Munich man – who will miss three matches for his club – may now be glad to get away from South America for a while, after landing himself in trouble on two occasions since Peru’s squad was announced.
Following an alleged headbutt on Gremio’s Alan Ruiz, for which he was sent off and could face a lengthy ban, Guerrero was subsequently accused of pushing a referee to the floor during Corinthians’ Copa do Brasil clash with Bragantino.
Guerrero must set those issues aside as Peru face Iraq in the first match of their Middle Eastern double header, with Qatar their next opponents on Tuesday.
Iraq – ranked 39 places below Peru – will use this clash as preparation for the Asian Games, which get under way a week on Sunday with a group fixture against Nepal in South Korea.
Hakeem Shaker has named a youthful squad for this clash, with one eye on the forthcoming tournament that follows the same age limits as the Olympic Games, permitting only three players over 23.
Having won the silver medal on their return to the Asian Games in 2006, Iraq did not enter when the event headed to China four years ago.
Shaker will be keen to get an idea of his side’s chances of winning gold this time around during Thursday’s friendly.