Guinea-Bissau head coach Baciro Candle is optimistic that his team can make history when the take on hosts, Ivory Coast in the opening game of the 2023 AFCON on Saturday.
Guinea-Bissau who are in Group A alongside Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and hosts, Ivory Coast, are one of the few teams left in the competition to win a game at the AFCON.
However, by virtually entirely using players from the European diaspora, Guinea-Bissau has been able to overcome its subpar athletic facilities and lower position.
They’ve made it into the finals for the previous four years running.
While they managed an unexpected 1-1 draw with the host nation, Gabon, in the first game of the 2017 edition, they have lost all nine of their games in the previous three editions.
They are one of four teams in the tournament that have not won a game in the championship round and have not advanced past the first round.
“We find ourselves in a very tough group, a group of death, up against some very tough teams,” Cande said of their Group A opponents, which also include Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.
“The Ivorians play at a high level with players in the top leagues in Europe.
“It’s a big team from a big country.
” Nigeria are strong too and we also saw what Equatorial Guinea did at the last tournament.”
With a population of 1.6 million, Equatorial Guinea is less populous than Guinea Bissau (2 million).
During the last tournament in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea stunned holders Algeria en route to the quarterfinals.
“But we have a confident team playing in a fourth successive tournament and because of the group there is little pressure on us,” Cande told a press conference on Friday.
“So we can look forward to trying to get the best results we can.”
Equatorial Guinea second Group A game will be against Guinea-Bissau before they take on Super Eagles of Nigeria in their last group game.