Panama names 35-man provisional World Cup roster

Jaime Penedo Panama
Manager Hernan Gomez may wait until the deadline to trim his side down from 35 to the 23-man maximum for the country's first World Cup appearance

Hernan Gomez isn't making any big decisions just yet.

On the same day that his counterpart in Costa Rica announced his 23-man World Cup squad and Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio named 28 players from which he'll draw his own group, "El Bolillo" announced his 35-man provisional roster. It's the maximum number of players allowed by FIFA, with the coach intimating he may wait until the June 4 deadline for his final squad to cut down the roster for Panama's first-ever trip to the World Cup finals.

Veterans like goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Gabriel Gomez, Blas Perez and Luis Tejada are almost certain to make the cut after helping Panama clinch third-place in CONCACAF World Cup qualification with Edgar Barcenas, fresh off winning the Mexican second division with Cafetaleros de Tapachula brings a bit of youth to the squad.

So too does 21-year-old Ismael Diaz, who hasn't played a club match since a knee operation in the winter knocked him out of the Deportivo La Coruna B team's starting lineup. Diaz could be a critical piece for Panama should he be healthy enough to make the World Cup.

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Gomez has tempered expectations ahead of the Caneleros debut World Cup, which sees them drawn into a group with England, Belgium and Tunisia.

"Modern football isn't about managers or tactics. Modern football is about physical condition, and that's where we have some problems," he told TVN Radio.

Still, Gomez is expecting an enjoyable experience for his squad and the fans at home in Central America. "The World Cup is to be enjoyed from start to finish," he said. "We're going to go out to play and from when we go out on the field we're going to want to win."

Panama preliminary squad:

Goalkeepers: Jose Calderon (Chorrillo), Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucharest), Alex Rodríguez (San Francisco FC)

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Defenders: Azmahar Ariano (Patriotas FC), Felipe Baloy (CSD Municipal), Harold Cummings (San Jose Earthquakes), Eric Davis (Dunajska Streda), Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls), Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo), Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls), Luis Ovalle (CD Olimpia), Francisco Palacios (San Francisco FC), Richard Peralta (Alianza), Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders)

Midfielders: Ricardo Avila (KAA Gent), Edgar Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula), Ricardo Buitrago (Municipal), Miguel Camargo (Universidad San Martín de Porres), Adalberto Carrasquilla (Tauro FC), Armando Cooper (Club Universidad de Chile), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Gabriel Gomez (Bucaramanga), Jose Gonzalez (Union Comercio), Cristian Martínez (Columbus Crew), Valentin Pimentel (Plaza Amador), Alberto Quintero (Universitario de Lima), Jose Luis Rodríguez (KAA Gent)

Forwards: Abdiel Arroyo (LD Alajuelense), Rolando Blackburn (Chorrillo), Ismael Diaz (Deportivo La Coruna), Jose Fajardo (CA Independiente), Roberto Nurse (Mineros Zacatecas), Blas Perez (Municipal), Luis Tejada (Sports Boys), Gabriel Torres (CD Huachipato)