Sun, 28 Feb 2021

BOGOTA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Newly appointed manager Reinaldo Rueda has ruled out making radical changes as he seeks to resuscitate Colombia's faltering World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 63-year-old took charge of the Cafeteros for a second time last week, just a day after leaving his post as head coach of Chile.

"No football [team] in the world can be too drastic with what they change," Rueda said in his first press conference since his appointment. "It is very clear that you cannot make a transition or a radical change because it doesn't work anywhere in the world."

Rueda stressed he would give chances to new players but said veterans such as Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and David Ospina still have important roles to play.

"We have a very talented group of players who will be selected on their merits, in according to how they are performing for their clubs," added Rueda.

The Cali-born coach replaces Portuguese Carlos Queiroz, who was sacked after Colombia suffered heavy defeats to Uruguay and Ecuador in October.

Those results left the Cafeteros seventh in the South American Football Confederation's (CONMEBOL) 10-team qualifying standings. The top four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament will earn an automatic berth at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar while the fifth ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff.

Rueda parted ways with Chile on January 13, having led the team to nine wins, eight draws and 10 defeats following his appointment in January 2018.

He had a 33-month spell in charge of Colombia from early 2004 to late 2006, guiding the Cafeteros to 17 wins, 12 draws and 11 defeats.

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