Nestor Raul Renderos (white jersey) is participating in an El Salvador training camp ahead of its World Cup qualifiers scheduled for later in November. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – With an eye towards the next round of qualifying in CONCACAF for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, El Salvador opened a 23-player training camp Monday.
The Cuscatlecos will begin fourth-round play on November 13 at Mexico in Group A, which also contains Canada and Honduras.
"Any group that El Salvador found itself in would always be difficult,” said head coach Ramon Maradiaga, who was named to the post in September. “The idea is to write history after 33 years of not being in a World Cup. We know it will not be easy, but these players have a dream and we will make it work.”
Maradiaga will conduct double sessions through Friday with a contingent featuring five players each from local sides Alianza, FAS and Santa Tecla. None of the players that have accounted for the Salvadorans’ eight goals in qualifying are participating in the camp.
The 61-year-old Honduran acknowledged that Mexico is the favorite to progress, but the other spot would be keenly disputed.
"Many concede that Mexico will advance,” he commented. “Then we will play a triangular between Canada and Honduras to take second place in Group A.”
El Salvador is unbeaten in the current qualifying campaign (3W-1D-0L), posting a pair of shutouts in 1-0 wins over Curacao in its last two outings.
EL SALVADOR ROSTER
(Training Camp: November 2-6, 2015)
GOALKEEPERS: Oscar Arroyo (Alianza), Luis Contreras (FAS), Henry Hernandez (Isidro Metapan)
DEFENDERS: Juan Barahona (Santa Tecla), Ibsen Castro (Aguila), Roberto Dominguez (Santa Tecla), Andres Flores Jaco (Alianza), Edson Melendez (Alianza), Henry Romero (Aguila), Giovanni Zavaleta (Santa Tecla),
MIDFIELDERS: Diego Chavarria (Santa Tecla), Josue Odir Flores (Isidro Metapan), Jonathan Jimenez (FAS), Gerson Mayen (Santa Tecla), Santos Ortiz (Aguila), Isaac Portillo (Alianza), Juan Carlos Portillo (Alianza), Nestor Raul Renderos (FAS), Kevin Sagastizado (Pasaquina), Yuvini Salamanca (Pasaquina),
FORWARDS: Rafael Burgos (FAS), Jose Peña (FAS), *Christofer Ramirez (Orange County Blues/USA)
* invited player