Kick-off: Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 19:00 CET. Stade 28 Septembre, Guinea.
Syli Nationale Continue To Underachieve
Before World Cup
qualifiers began, the biggest doubt surrounding Guinea’s hopes of qualifying
was their penchant for putting in shoddy performances
and earning inconsistent results. They infamously began their campaign in the
previous round of qualifying by drawing at home to Zimbabwe and losing away to
Kenya before going undefeated to finish first in their
However, true to their
unpredictable form, Guinea’s hot streak was halted by the surging stallions of
Burkina Faso in the first match of the third and final round of qualifying. Robert
Nouzaret’s side were thoroughly humbled by a 4-2 scoreline as it was once again
evidenced that his side still have the ability to confound all analysts who
The latest failure on the
part of the Guineans points to their main weakness: defence. In their last four
official matches they have conceded 12 goals. The statistic is a staggering one
which does not bode well for them as they prepare to face one of the
finest sides in Africa on Saturday, with strikers and midfielders known for
their ability to pick apart underperforming back lines.
Meanwhile, rumblings that
coach Nouzaret was set to quit have done nothing to help the cause of the
Guineans, who have often been accused of taking their matches lightly and
showing a lack of discipline on the nights preceding them.
The only true positive
for the Syli Nationale in this match are that they are playing at home, where
they tend to concede less often. Furthermore, the fans at the Stade 28 Septembre should provide them with extra motivation that
will be desperately needed against the visiting Ivorians.
Cote d’Ivoire Looking To Stay Focused
The Elephants began their
World Cup qualifying in style by convincingly thumping Malawi 5-0. However,
many neglect the fact that the Flames were without five of their most
influential players, who missed the match due to a combination of suspensions
Although Malawi are much
improved these days, the match is certainly no measuring stick for the current
level of the Ivorians. It must not be forgotten that Didier Drogba and his
team-mates began the previous round of qualifications hesitantly, as they drew
against the likes of Madagascar, Botswana and Mozambique. Unsurprisingly, all
the matches in question were played outside of their country.
They must seek to
overturn this recent habit of drawing in their away matches if they wish to
qualify for the 2010 World Cup without too many complications. They are off to
a positive start but wounds from their 2008 African Cup of Nations humiliation at the hands of Egypt in the semi-finals are still fresh and
they can ill afford a stumble against the unpredictable and offensively
d’Ivoire remain one of the finest squads in Africa and will be motivated by the
prospect of qualifying for their second straight World Cup on the back of their
European-based stars, who are plying their trades in some of the most
prestigious club teams on the planet.
As usual, the Guineans
will look to their playmaker Pascal Feindouno for inspiration in attack. He will
be paired with Dynamo Kiev’s Ismael Bangoura. Unfortunately, the influential
Fode Mansare will miss the match due to injury.
Meanwhile, Nouzaret has made a
total of five changes the squad since their humbling loss to Burkina Faso in
Ouagadougou. Receiving his first call-up is Richard Soumah from French Ligue 2
Squad: Mohamed Nhowe Bangoura, Kemoko
Camara, Naby Yattara, Mamadou Dioulde Bah, Dianbobo Balde, Jean Habib Balde,
Aboubacar Buenga Camara, Alseny Camara, Ibrahima Camara, Mangue Camara, Alimou
Diallo, Oumar Kalabane, Kamil Zayatte, Aboubacar Mbaye Camara, Kevin Constant,
Mohamed Sacko, Richard Soumah, Larsen Toure, Amara Kaba Bangoura, Ismael
Bangoura, Sambegou Bangoura, Karamoko Cisse, Pascal Feindouno, Ibrahima
Yattara, Souleymane Youla.
The most notable addition
Vahid Halilhodzic’s talent-laden
roster is that of Toure Yaya, who missed out on the 5-0 rout of Malawi
in March. While he wasn’t needed in that encounter, he is certainly a welcome
reinforcement for this weekend’s qualifier, where the Ivorians will be facing a
much sterner test in an unfriendly environment.
The Barcelona midfielder’s
physical presence and crafty tackles will be useful against Guinea’s technically
gifted players, not to mention his nose for goal.
Squad: Boubacar Barry, Ibrahim Kone, Badra Ali
Sangare, Aristide Benoit Zogbo, Souleymane Bamba, Benjamin Angoua Brou, Guy
Demel, Emmanuel Eboue, Steve Gohouri, Igor Lolo, Abdoulaye Meite, Kolo Toure,
Kanga Akale, Kafoumba Coulibaly, Emerse Fae, Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso, Emmanuel
Kouamatien Kone, Gervais Yao Kouassi , Christian Koffi Ndri, Siaka Tiene, Cheik
Ismael Tiote, Yaya Toure, Didier Zokora, Sekou Cisse, Aruna Dindane, Didier
Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Abdelkader Keita, Arouna Kone, Bakary Kone, Boubacar Sanogo.
Guinea will be fighting
their hardest in front of their fans as a second loss will undoubtedly put an
end to their World Cup aspirations. Cote d’Ivoire’s recent away struggles don’t
bode well for them in this situation but their experience will help them
weather Guinean attacks and score some of their own. Look for them to scrape
through with some difficulty.
Guinea 2-3 Cote d’Ivoire
Rami Ayari, Goal.com