Venezuela have called up four qualified debutants based in Europe for their friendlies against Argentina in Calcutta, India on the 2nd September and Guinea in Caracas four days later.
Fresh from their successful Copa America campaign, in which they reached the semi-finals for the first time, the Venezuelan federation has reached out to players based in Europe qualified to play for the national team in an attempt to further bolster the squad ahead of what they and coach Cesar Farias hope will be a successful World Cup qualification campaign.
The most famous of those called up is Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta. The 26-year old has in the past indicated his willingness to play for his country of birth, but red tape had previously curtailed such ambitions. These issues would now appear to have been resolved.
Amorebieta was born in Cantuara, Venezuela to two Basque parents, who were based there due to work. The family returned to Spain when Amorebieta was two years old, and he didn’t return to Venezuela until 2007, where he played as part of the Basque national team in a friendly against Venezuela in San Cristobal.
Brothers Rolf (20) and Frank Feltscher (23), of Parma and Grasshopper respectively, were both born in Switzerland to a Swiss father and Venezuelan mother. They both spent three years in Venezuela following the divorce of their parents, living with their mother, stepfather and grandmother and receiving Venezuelan citizenship. Upon returning to Switzerland they embarked on football careers and have both represented Switzerland at U-21 level.
Finally, Andres Tunez (24) of Celta Vigo was born in Caracas, Venezuela to two Spanish immigrants from Galicia. The family returned to Spain when Andres was aged seven. He was originally contacted by the Venezuelan federation in February 2010, but this is the first time he has been named in a squad.
The full squad list, which includes other European based players who moved to Europe later in their careers than those mentioned above, is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Renny Vega (Caracas), Rafael Romo (Udinese-ITA)
Defenders: Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (Olimpo de Bahía Blanca-ARG), Andrés Túñez (Celta de Vigo-ESP), Fernando Amorebieta (Athletic de Bilbao-ESP), Rolf Feltscher (Parma-ITA), Gabriel Cichero (Lens-FRA), Roberto Rosales (Twente-NED), Raúl González (Anagennisi Dherynia-CYP), Rohel Briceño (Caracas).
Midfielders: Tomás Rincón (Hamburgo-GER), Juan Arango (Borussia Mönchengladbach-GER), Yohandry Orozco (Wolfsburgo-GER), Josmar Zambrano (Tenerife-ESP), Julio Álvarez (Numancia-ESP), Franco Signorelli (Empoli-ITA), Luis Manuel Seijas (Independiente Santa Fe-COL), César González (River Plate-ARG), Agnel Flores (Mineros de Guayana).
Forwards: Salomón Rondón (Málaga-ESP), Nicolás Fedor (Getafe-ESP), Mario Rondón (Nacional de Madeira-POR), Frank Feltscher (Grasshoppers-SUI).
Goalkeepers: Renny Vega (Caracas), Leo Morales (Deportivo Anzoátegui)
Defenders: Alexander González (Caracas), Carlos Salazar (Deportivo Anzoátegui), William Díaz (Deportivo Táchira), José Manuel Rey (Lara), Rohel Briceño (Caracas), José Luis Granados (Real Esppor), Roberto Rosales (Twente-NED), Rolf Feltscher (Parma-ITA), Andrés Túñez (Celta de Vigo-ESP).
Midfielders: Ángel Chourio (Real Esppor), Jesús Meza (Atlas-MEX), Agnel Flores (Mineros de Guayana), Franklin Lucena (Caracas), Francisco Flores y Giácomo Di Giorgi (Deportivo Anzoátegui), Yohandry Orozco (Woflsburgo-GER), Luis Manuel Seijas (Independiente de Santa Fe-COL).
Forwards: Fernando Aristeguieta (Caracas), Frank Feltscher (Grasshoppers-SUI), Yonathan Del Valle (Deportivo Táchira), Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA), Giancarlo Maldonado (Atlante-MEX).