Panama head coach Julio Dely Valdes (pictured) called-up 23 players for World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica and Honduras in September. (Photo: Mexsport)
PANAMA CITY – Panama head coach Julio Dely Valdes announced on Sunday the names of 23 players, who will gather for a camp prior to a pair of crucial World Cup qualifiers next month.
The Panamanians are currently in fifth place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, the final round of qualifying for Brazil 2014, but could potentially climb to third with a win over visiting Jamaica on September 6. Four days later, they face Honduras in a pivotal away encounter.
After going winless in three straight qualifiers in June, Panama advanced to the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where it lost to the United States, 1-0, on July 28.
Many of that campaign’s stars have been included on Dely Valdes’ roster, including Gabriel Torres, who shared the Gold Cup’s Golden Boot awarded with Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski (both of the USA).
The Colorado Rapids forward may pair up front with Blas Perez. The FC Dallas striker has 10 career goals in both the Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifying.
Also called in was defender Roberto Chen. The 19-year-old has not appeared in any previous qualifiers, however, he drew praise for his Gold Cup performances and earned a move to Malaga in the Spanish La Liga.
Those players based in Panama will start training on Monday, while those abroad are expected to report by September 2
(World Cup Qualifying – September 6, 2013 home v Jamaica; September 10, 2013, away v Honduras
GOALKEEPERS: Luis Mejía (Fenix/URU), Jaime Penedo (LA Galaxy/USA), Alex Rodríguez (Sporting San Miguelito)
DEFENDERS: Felipe Baloy (Santos/Mexico), Jean Carlo Cedeño (Alianza), Roberto Chen (Malaga/Spain), Harold Cummings (Arabe Unido/Panama), Richard Dixon (Sporting San Miguelito), Luis Henríquez (Lech Poznan/Poland), Carlos Rodríguez (Chepo FC/Panama), Román Torres (Millonarios/Colombia)
MIDFIELDERS: Eybir Bonaga (San Francisco), Juan de Dios Pérez (Tauro), Aníbal Godoy (Chepo), Gabriel Gómez (San Francisco), Amílcar Henríquez (Independiente Medellín/Colombia), Jairo Jimenez (Elche Ilicitano/Spain), Alberto Quintero (Lobos BUAP/Mexico), Marcos Sánchez (Tauro)
FORWARDS: Blas Perez (FC Dallas/USA), Alcibiades Rojas (Sporting San Miguelito), Gabriel Torres (Colorado Rapids/USA), Cecilio Waterman (Fenix/Uruguay)