Shamans back Peru ahead of World Cup playoff against Australia

Lima (Reuters) – Thirteen Peruvian shamans gathered on Friday to perform spiritual rituals with rattles, smoke and flowers in support of the national soccer team ahead of their World Cup playoff against Australia in Qatar.

Peru take on the Socceroos at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan on Monday, with the winners taking one of the last spots at the World Cup finals in the Gulf state later this year.

The shaman, dressed in multicolored Andean ponchos and cloaks, performed the ceremony on a hillside in Lima around a portrait of the Peru team.

A smaller portrait of the Australia team was poked with short swords as one of the indigenous shaman blew a traditional wind intrument known as a pututo or caracola.

“We have carried out a Peruvian victory ceremony. We have summoned all the shamans at a national level,” said shaman Walter Alarcon.

“There are 13 shamans because Peru plays Australia on the 13th of June, and we have foreseen Peru passing to the next round.

“Peru will be in Qatar for the World Cup because we have seen people’s joy, after taking ayahuasca plants yesterday.”

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic plant brew which has long been used by indigenous Amazonian tribes in spiritual and healing rituals.

Peru have played at the World Cup finals five times, most recently in Russia four years ago when they beat Australia 2-0 for their only victory in the group stage.

Costa Rica face New Zealand at the same stadium on Tuesday with the final berth in the 32-team finals on the line.