Image source: AP

Brazil has around 470,000 deaths from COVID-19. Health experts expect a third wave of infections this month.

Brazil’s star players have debated whether or not to play on home soil in the Copa America but will not make public statements until after the World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay.

The Copa America, given to defending champions Brazil after Argentina and Colombia were deposed as co-hosts, has become a controversial topic amid rising COVID-19 cases in the region.

Brazil coach Tite said Thursday the players had spoken to national football confederation president Rogério Caboclo.

“They have an opinion, they disclosed it to the President … and they will present it to the public in due course. That’s why our captain Casemiro is absent today, “Tite said at a press conference when asked if his players had asked permission to skip the continental championship from June 13th to July 10th.

Brazil will face Ecuador on Friday and Paraguay next Tuesday in South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

The South American Football Association selected Brazil as a substitute host earlier this week after Argentina was deposed for the spread of COVID-19. Colombia was deposed as co-host last month due to street protests against President Iván Duque.

Brazilian players, executives and coaching staff have not spoken to the media since the decision was announced.

“We asked our athletes to focus only on the game against Ecuador,” said Tite on Thursday. “Our priority now is to play well and beat Ecuador. We understand that these situations will be clear after the two rounds. “

“I don’t avoid answers and I give facts with the understanding I have,” added Tite. “Copa America is very important. But our game tomorrow is more important. “

Brazil has around 470,000 deaths from COVID-19. Health experts expect a third wave of infections this month.