September 28 Stadium, Conakry
Is It A New Ball Game For Guinea's Syli Stars?
It is expected to be a new Syli Nationale that will line up against their Malawian counterparts on Sunday after Frenchman Robert Nouzaret was shown the door and former international skipper, Aboubakar 'Titi' Camara, took charge of the team with the full blessings of the head of the military junta, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.
Guinea are perennial underachievers. And this will be so for some time to come after they lost their previous two World Cup qualifiers, first to Burkina Faso (4-2 in Ouagadougou) and then two weeks ago to the Ivory Coast (2-1 in Conakry).
The loss to the Ivorians was the first home defeat for the Guineans in 15 years.
The dream of featuring at the 2010 World Cup is over and they will now have to battle Malawi for the third ticket in the group for the Nations Cup in Angola in January.
Indiscipline has been identified as one of the banes of this team, and this was underlined when Nouzaret publicly blasted skipper Pascal Feinduno for some off-the-pitch antics on the eve of the match against the Ivorian Elephants.
The Syli Stars have also suffered from lack of support from the fans at the September 28 Stadium in Conakry.
Probably, the arrival of their darling 'Titi' may now provide the team with a much-needed new lease of life, beginning with Sunday's game.
In his first match in charge, the Syli held Nations Cup hosts, Angola, to a goalless draw.
"Our initial goal is the 2010 Cup of Nations," said Camara, aware that first place in his side's FIFA World Cup qualifying section is now virtually beyond reach.
"We had to take stock and after four defeats and a draw in our last five matches, it's obvious work needs to be done."
Dynamo Kiev striker Ismael Bangoura and goal scorer against Ivory Coast, Sambegou Bangoura, will again be the men expected to come up with the goods against the vistors.
Malawi Return To West Africa
Like hosts Guinea, the Flames of Malawi are out of contention for a place at next year's World Cup after losses to the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.
Striker Chiukepo Msowoya, who netted a brace in a recent friendly against Rwanda, has shown he can perform at this level and so Malawi will be relying on him for their goals.
However, the star man is Josephy Kamwendo from Orlando Pirates of South Africa, who is now enjoyng his football in central midfield having been moved from the left wing on his request.
He is now the heart of all moves of a team handled by Kinnah Phiri, formerly of Free State Stars, also in the South African PSL.
Malawi visited West Africa in March when they were whipped 5-0 by hosts Ivory Coast. It was an ill-fated trip that also saw the death of 19 persons during a stampede at the match venue - the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.
The Flames will most certainly be praying for far better luck in Conakry this weekend.
Former internationals, Petit Sory and Bangally Sylla, have been named to take over the running of the 16,000-capacity September 28 Stadium in Conakry. The stadium, which was opened on Guinea's independence day 49 years ago, has been renovated to meet FIFA standards.
New coach and part-time business man, 'Titi' Camara has admitted he is working overtime on the team's defence because "we concede too many goals".
Home team Guinea to finally win their first game of the series and get new coach, 'Titi' Camara, off to an ideal start in his young managerial career.
Samm Audu, Goal.com