A heated Guinean derby is set for Sunday (today) at the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations as Equatorial Guinea and Guinea clash in the knockout round of 16.
After topping Group A against the odds, undefeated Equatorial Guinea is riding high.
“I think we are here to tackle match by match. We are already in the round of 16 which will be a difficult match. We are not favorites. We always respect the opponent. We take tomorrow’s match as a normal game, and we will work hard in our preparation,” said Equatorial Guinea manager Juan Micha.
“We are a humble family who work every day to improve. The results we have achieved do not mean that we are the best. We work every day and take things step by step,” he added.
Striker Emilio Nsue Lopez leads the tournament in goals scored with five.
Their opponent, Guinea, qualified as one of the best third-place teams in Group C, behind Senegal and Cameroon. Guinea’s best AFCON showing was a second-place finish in 1976 when they lost to Morocco in the final played in Ethiopia.
“We prepared for this match as usual. At this stage, we can no longer work on the physical aspect. We work on tactics; we insisted on working on what we want to put in place tomorrow,” said Guinea coach Kaba Diawara.
He added, “In the round of 16, there are no favorites. We are much better than in 2021 and know each other better. All we want is to win tomorrow. We know that the group stage has nothing to do with the knockout stage.
“It’s another AFCON which is direct elimination. We just have to win, and I insist on that.”
Both coaches affirmed the must-win nature of the high-stakes derby.
“The state of mind is good, it has always been good, we are all focused on tomorrow’s objective, which is to go beyond this round. We came into this competition to reach a new milestone and we will have to show it tomorrow. Today I feel better. It’s never easy to get back to 100% after a muscle injury,” said Guinea striker Serhou Guirassy.
After already exceeding expectations, Equatorial Guinea is ready for the challenge.
“Guinea is a complicated opponent and it will be a very difficult match. We will make more effort because so far, we have demonstrated that when we have the ball, we know how to use it well,” said Equatorial Guinea player Saul Coco.
The Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea round of 16 match will be played on Sunday (today), January 28 at Ebimpe’s Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium at 6 pm (Nigerian time).
The winner of the draw will face, the winner of the tie between DR Congo and Egypt later today, by 9 pm (Nigerian time).