BOGOTA (Reuters) - Coach Jose Pekerman has dropped Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao and Juventus midfielder Juan Cuadrado as he looks to breathe new life into Colombia’s team for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Pekerman, whose side failed to get past the Copa America quarter-finals in June, has called up fewer exiles and included 10 home-based players in a 23-man squad for a friendly against Peru in New York on Sept. 8.
The game was arranged before the draw for the South American World Cup qualifiers in which Colombia are at home to Peru in their opening fixture on Oct. 5.
“We want to see players (in action) that we are always following...to see what path the national team can take,” Pekerman told reporters after naming his squad on Friday.
The Argentine said his hand had been forced by injuries and lack of first-team football for the likes of Falcao, who joined Chelsea on loan last month, and Cuadrado, who left the Premier League champions for Juventus this week.
"Such factors oblige us to leave them out of the squad and for them to seek their rhythm individually with their (club) teams," he said.
“We are always looking at the (Colombian) league because there are good players, there is always improvement,” added Pekerman, who steered Colombia to the World Cup quarter-finals last year.
Pekerman’s team will be led by Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez and the squad also includes fellow midfielder Carlos Sanchez of Aston Villa.
Among the strikers are three players who have moved clubs in the off-season, 2014 South American footballer of the year Teofilo Gutierrez of Portugal’s Sporting, Jackson Martinez of Atletico Madrid and AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Ed Osmond)