HARRISON, N.J. — Things at the club level could certainly be better, but on the international stage there are new challengers that New York Red Bulls playmaker Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra has long been excited about.
Kaku and his national team of Paraguay will begin a new era in earnest on Friday night, as they face off against fellow South American side Peru in a familiar setting for the midfielder. The match at Red Bull Arena (the home of Kaku’s club side) will mark Eduardo Berizzo’s first as Paraguay head coach following last month’s dismissal of manager Juan Carlos Osorio, and Kaku is hoping to get a chance under his new mentor in order to try and make a strong impression.
“It’s always difficult when one coach leaves and another one comes because there’s new ideas and they all want to implement their own style,” Kaku told SBI during the New York Red Bulls’ Media Day in February. “But us players will always be there supporting whoever is in the role. It’s important for me and all the players to be involved in the first game, too, and if we’re not then we have to support from the sidelines.
“But if I get a chance to play at Red Bull (Arena), which is a stadium I already know, it would be wonderful for me.”
For Kaku, Friday night’s international fixture could mark a unique return to action in the venue he currently calls home. The 24-year-old attacker was suspended by the Red Bulls for their most recent match there on March 16 because of a “small internal issue”, meaning he has not played at Red Bull Arena since the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League series against Santos Laguna on March 5.
While Kaku is surely itching to get back on the field, one thing that is likely amplifying that desire is his personal goal of making Paraguay’s roster for this summer’s Copa America in Brazil. Kaku has yet to play in a tournament on the international level, and Friday’s match vs. the Peruvians and next week’s clash with Mexico could go a long way towards convincing Berizzo who to call up in June when the games get tougher and results truly matter.
“We know the group we have is a very difficult one with Argentina, Colombia, Qatar, but Paraguay has a great team” said Kaku. “We are a young squad, but we expect to do things in the best manner and leave Paraguay on a high note, which is what we all want. We want to fight, which is most important, and you have to enjoy the moments that come your way because you never know when you’ll get them again.”
Kaku may have an eye on the Copa America, but knows he has to play at a good level on both the international and club stages in order to get there. The road to Brazil for him goes through Red Bull Arena, and it continues on Friday night.
“You always want to play Copa America or in a World Cup with your national team,” said Kaku. “I know by working hard with Red Bulls and doing my best, these things will happen and these things will come.”