La Paz, Oct 10 (IANS) Bolivia’s President Evo Morales encouraged his compatriots to keep their “hopes” up and continue supporting the national football team in the World Cup 2018 South American qualifiers.

Morales on Friday spoke to local media from the northern department of Pando where he was attending an ambulance handover after the South American side lost 0-2 on Thursday evening at home against Uruguay in the Hernando Siles Stadium, Xinhua reported.

“When we lost 0-2 to Uruguay, I saw a lot of courage and lots of effort. I am very hopeful. We are just beginning. We mustn’t be discouraged. We should continue supporting our team,” said the president.

He added that the Bolivian team showed its commitment and encouraged the population to hope for better days for the countey’s football. The president said this would be possible with greater preparation time.

Morales also praised the Bolivian fans’ attitude for encouraging the national team, even after the defeat as the players left the pitch to a loud applause. “The fans stayed until the end. We thank this support,” said the president. Morales also re-affirmed the government’s commitment to continue supporting the national team that will face Ecuador in Quito on Tuesday in the second match of the South American qualifiers.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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