New Bolivia boss Costas calls for new mentality

LA PAZ, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — Newly appointed manager Gustavo Costas says self-belief is all that stands between Bolivia’s national team and qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Costas officially began his tenure as the Verde’s head coach on Friday, replacing Cesar Farias who departed in March after the team’s failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

“We’re going to change our mentality,” the 59-year-old Argentine told reporters. “We can’t consider ourselves to be less than anyone. We need to have the belief that we can play as equals anywhere with the objective of going to the World Cup.”

Bolivia has not qualified for football’s showpiece tournament since the 1994 edition in the United States.

Costas had been manager of Chilean top flight club Palestino before agreeing to take on the Bolivia job. His 23-year coaching career has also included spells in charge of Racing Club, Alianza Lima, Al-Nassr and Atlas, among other clubs.

He admitted he had already thought about the South American qualifying tournament scheduled to begin next year.

“We have to be united, we must not be afraid and always have our feet on the ground,” Costas said. “For me, the most difficult thing is to put together a group, because when a group is united, it is strong.”