Thirteen Peruvian shamans on Friday gathered to perform spiritual rituals with rattles, smoke and flowers in support of the national soccer team ahead of their World Cup playoff against Australia in Qatar.
Peru take on the Socceroos at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan tomorrow, with the winners taking one of the last spots at the World Cup finals in the Gulf state later this year.
The shaman, dressed in multicolored Andean ponchos and cloaks, performed the ceremony on a hillside in Lima around a portrait of the Peru team.
A smaller portrait of the Australia team was poked with short swords as one of the indigenous shaman blew a traditional wind instrument known as a pututo or caracola.
“We have carried out a Peruvian victory ceremony. We have summoned all the shamans at a national level,” shaman Walter Alarcon said.
“There are 13 shamans because Peru plays Australia on the 13th of June, and we have foreseen Peru passing to the next round. Peru will be in Qatar for the World Cup because we have seen people’s joy, after taking ayahuasca plants yesterday.”
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic plant brew which has long been used by indigenous Amazonian tribes in spiritual and healing rituals.
Peru have played at the World Cup finals five times, most recently in Russia four years ago when they beat Australia 2-0 for their only victory in the group stage.
Costa Rica face New Zealand at the same stadium on Tuesday, with the final berth in the 32-team finals on the line.
Meanwhile, Ecuador kept their place in the Qatar World Cup after FIFA on Friday closed an inquiry sought by non-qualifying Chile into the eligibility of a key player.
The FIFA disciplinary committee said in a statement it had decided to “close the proceedings” against the Ecuador Football Federation (FEF) after Chile disputed the nationality of fullback Byron Castillo.
If Chile had been successful, they would have leapfrogged Ecuador into direct World Cup qualification.
The Football Federation of Chile Chilean (FFCh) said it would appeal the decision all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if need be.
“The eloquent and substantiated evidence we showed was not enough. Surprisingly the ruling was not in our favor,” FFCh president Pablo Milad told reporters in Santiago.
“We are 1-0 down, but there is still the second half,” he added.
The FFCh last month lodged a complaint with FIFA against Ecuador over what it claimed was the “use of a fake birth certificate, false declaration of age and false nationality” in the case of Castillo.
It claims to have evidence that the player is actually Colombian.
Under FIFA rules, a player cannot represent a country of which they do not hold nationality.
Castillo, 23, played in both Ecuador’s World Cup qualifying matches against Chile: a 2-0 victory in Quito in September last year and a 0-0 draw in November.
Chile finished seventh in the single South American World Cup qualification table, seven points behind Ecuador in the fourth and final automatic berth for Qatar.
FEF president Francisco Egas said Chile’s allegations had “hurt us a lot” and he did not rule out legal action.
“This is a subject to be analyzed by our lawyers,” he told reporters.
Ecuador are in Group A with Qatar, the Netherlands and Senegal at the World Cup finals later this year.
Additional reporting by AFP
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