Guinea hope for more surprises

GUINEA will aim to cause more shocks at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations after they upstaged star-studded Nigeria to qualify for the tournament proper.
Guinea will count on their long-time talisman Pascal Feindouno. Net photo
Guinea will count on their long-time talisman Pascal Feindouno. Net photo

GUINEA will aim to cause more shocks at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations after they upstaged star-studded Nigeria to qualify for the tournament proper.

In October, the Syli National needed a result in a final group game in Nigeria to qualify automatically for the continental showpiece.

They forced the Super Eagles to a 2-2 draw and so eliminated their highly-rated hosts, who needed to win to stay in contention for a place at the finals.

The 2012 finals will be their 10th appearance at the biennial tournament and they finalised their build-up for competition in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

They will again be the dark horses in Group D based in Franceville, Gabon, as fellow West Africans Ghana and Mali are favourites to reach the knockout stage with debutants Botswana making up the numbers.

Failure to qualify for the 2010 edition in Angola punctured a consistent run in this competition as they had reached the last eight in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

The closest they have come to be crowned African champions was in 1976, when they lost out by a point to Morocco in a final round-robin format that also included Nigeria and Egypt.

A lot was expected of the Syli Stars at the 2008 competition in Ghana, but they were outclassed 5-0 by Ivory Coast in the quarterfinal.

France-based goalkeeper Naby Yattara was impressive in the qualifiers as the team is now a fine blend of youth and experience.

Experience comes in the form of long-time talisman Pascal Feindouno and big central defender Bobo Balde, while Germany-based midfielder Ibrahima Traore represents the new generation.

Agencies

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