The Chilean squad arrived at their training base in Nelspruit on Monday to be greeted by good news regarding the condition of striker Humberto Suazo.
The squad were met by several hundred fans and local dancers who performed some traditional African routines for the team. Later news emerged that Suazo’s hamstring tear could be less serious than first thought.
Suazo suffered the injury during the team’s warm up win over Israel but has resumed light training despite initially being ruled out for two to three weeks.
He is a key player for La Roja as the team’s main goalscorer and his strength is crucial in bringing smaller teammates into play. Suazo’s ten goals in qualifying were a major reason Chile progressed to the tournament but the camp were keen to emphasise that his condition remains delicate.
Winger Mark Gonzalez said:
“We all hope that Humberto can play in every match but we have to be realistic and it might be better if he misses one or two matches and is 100 per cent fit for the third.”
Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be based in the capital of Mpumalanga province for the duration of the group stages and play their opening game in Nelspruit against Honduras next Wednesday. The game will take place at the new Mbombela Stadium which features eighteen orange roof supports designed to resemble giraffes.