Ball fixers: These stalls in Peru repair footballs

Ball fixers: These stalls in Peru repair footballs
Valderrama fixes a soccer ball inside his shop in Lima
Francisco Valderrama, a ball repairer, fixes a soccer ball inside his shop in Lima June 25, 2014. The so called "ball clinics", which are found in the city's popular neighborhoods, repair balls for those who cannot afford to buy a new one.

Peru were invited to the first World Cup in 1930 and have taken part in the competition three times since then.

They are not in Brazil 2014 and the last time they qualified was in 1982.

The country, though, is football-mad - youngsters kicking a ball on the streets is a common sight.

But many do not have the money to buy new balls whenever they wear out.

Enterprising Peruvians have come up with "ball clinics" to help those whose footballs have worn out.

These makeshift stalls have sprung up in popular neighbourhoods where they charge between US$1 (S$1.25) and US$7 for their ball-repair services.

Mr Gerardo Alvarez, a Peruvian historian who specialises in sports, told the Wall Street Journal that the plight of the country's national team might be due to little investment in football, with crumbling stadiums and security concerns.

As of June 5, the Peru national team ranked eighth out of the 10 teams in the South American Football Confederation, one of Fifa's six continental confederations.

Peru is ranked 45th in the world.

This article was first published on June 27, 2014.
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