Sunday, October 11, 2009. 19:30 CET, Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra, Ghana.
The match between Guinea and Burkina-Faso counting for the joint qualifiers of the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will take place at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, Ghana, given the climate of insecurity in Conakry. The confrontation does not promise to be any less tense between Guineans in bad shape and a Burkina team that humiliated them 4-2 in the first leg.
The Last Thing On Their Minds Is Football
Currently, there's little that is going right in Guinea. With a climate of political tension and violence sweeping the country, among those massacres in the capital of Conakry by the military Junta. And - not that anybody over there cares right now - the national football team is in crisis. Local hero but inexperienced coach Aboubacar 'Titi' Camara stepped down from his position of coach of the Sily National and was replaced by Mamadi Souaré.
The reason was due to the results of Camara during the third matchday of the joint qualifiers. Under his leadership, the Guineans were not able to get a favourable result against Malawi. Worse still, their defeat in Blantyre during the fourth match day against Coach Phiri's men puts them in trouble before the reception of Burkina Faso in Accra this weekend. Given the current situation in Guinea, FIFA has demanded the relocation of the match to Ghana.
The squad coached by Mamadi Souaré will therefore face the Stallions on neutral ground. Their mission will be to beat those same Burkina-Faso players that were able to score four goals past them in Ouagadougou during the first leg. With only three points to show since the beginning of the last round of qualifiers, Pascal Feindouno and his team mates will be under a great deal of pressure. Malawi, who are hosting a very diminished and injury-riddled Cote d'Ivoire team, could benefit from a lack of motivation of the Elephants who are almost qualified, and win that game to blow past Guinea for one of the spots to the African Cup of Nations.
If Guinea wants to participate in their fourth African Cup of Nations in a row, they need to win this game as they will be facing Cote d'Ivoire in their last game of the qualifiers and wouldn't want their fate decided in Ouagadougou. One thing's for sure, Cote d'Ivoire have never been known to be too charitable when it comes to losing home games and the Elephants will without a doubt be very motivated to win their last official home game of the year at the Houphouet Boigny Stadium. Guinea is forewarned and their players understand well what it will take for them to get a result from Burkina-Faso on Sunday.
Lock In The Qualification To The African Cup of Nations
When they step on the pitch, both teams will know how the confrontation between Cote d'Ivoire and Malawi went in Blantyre and will definitely behave accordingly. If the Elephants get a single point in Malawi, they will have both feet in South Africa. And then Burkina Faso and Guinea would have their fates in their own hands, as Burkina-Faso will host Malawi in their last qualifying game. So that could weigh on their mind the day of the Guinea match. It is very unlikely, however, to imagine that the Burkinabe would let the match slip. The Stallions, with only six points, are far from having won their ticket for the next African Cup of Nations.
Paulo Duarte and his men want to finish the job in Accra. The Portuguese manager, who has been struggling lately with the club he coaches in the French Ligue 1, Le Mans, is very eager to quieten all his detractors and will definitely try to lock himself a spot as soon as Sunday night.
It will be interesting as the Burkina-Faso players have lost their last two games with pretty big margins and were not able to score, losing 5-0 to Cote d'Ivoire and 3-0 to Mali in a friendly. In fact the last official game the Stallions won was the 4-2 win against Guinea. And after the slap on the face that was their September fifth loss, it will be very educational to see what type of mindset Charles Kabore and his team mates have and how they will have willed themselves back into the race.
Cameroon 3-1 Guinea
Burkina Faso 4-2 Guinea
Guinea 1-2 Cote d'Ivoire
Angola 0-0 Guinea
Guinea 2-1 Malawi
Burkina-Faso 1-1 Togo
Burkina-Faso 4-2 Guinea
Malawi 0-1 Burkina-Faso
Burkina Faso 2-3 Cote d'Ivoire
Mali 3-0 Burkina-Faso
Noteworthy will be the presence of Chateauroux player Kevin Constant who did not make the trip to Malawi, as well as Kamil Zayatte and Ismael Bangoura who were punished by then coach Titi Camara. Let's also highlight the fact that Souleymane Youla will not likely participate in the match due to recent injuries and that as of Wednesday morning, Pascal Feindouno and Alassane Keita did not report for duty yet, in Conakry.
Goalkeepers: Kémoko Camara (Cholet/FRA), Naby Yattara (Arles/FRA)
Defenders: Ibrahima Camara (Le Mans/FRA), Oumar Kalabane (Maniaspor/TUR), Djan Bobo Balde (unattached), Khanfory Sylla (Sivasspor/TUR), Fode Camara (Fello Star Labe/GUI), Ibrahima Diallo (Charleroi/BEL) Mamadou Alimou (Sivasspor/TUR), Kamil Zayatte (Hull City/ENG)
Midfielders: Alsény Camara (Chateauroux/FRA), Mamadou Bah Dyula (Strasbourg/FRA), Pascal Feindouno (Al Rayyan/QAT), Kevin Constant (Chateauroux/FRA), Samuel Johnson (Ismaily/EGY), Larsen Toure (Lille/FRA) Naby Soumah (Horoyah AC/GUI)
Forwards: Souleymane Youla (Bursaspor/TUR), Kaba Diawara (Arles-Avignon/FRA), Fode Mansare (Toulouse / FRA), Ibrahima Bangoura (Denizlispor / TUR), Ismael Bangoura (Rennes / FRA)
Paulo Duarte will have the luxury of his whole team for the first time since he took over at Le Mans and this will help him change things. If the Portuguese manager's honeymoon with the local Burkinabe press is over, he still has a lot of supporters amongst the population and the qualification to Angola, which was the main objective when he was hired, would help him be loved again by the public. Habib Bamogo will be a part of the squad for this weekend's encounter. The OGC Nice payer has finally been cleared to play for the country of his parents by FIFA and could very well be used this Sunday.
Goalkeepers: Daouda Diakite (Arab Contractors / EGY), Mohamed Diarra (RCB / BFA), Adama Sawadogo (ASFA Yennenga / BFA)
Defenders: Ibrahim Gnanou (Alania Vladikavkaz / RUS), Bakary Kone, Paul Koulibaly (Al Itthiad Tripoli / EGY), Moussa Ouattara (Kaiserslautern / GER), Mady Panandétiguiri (Uniao Leiria/POR), Mamadou Tall (Uniao Leiria/POR), Bakary Kone (Guingamp/FRA)
Midfielders: Bebe Kambou (Louhans-Cuiseaux/FRA), Mahamoudou Kere (Charleroi / Belgium), Mohamed Koffi Boureima Maïga (Oostende / BEL), Jonathan Pitroipa (SV Hamburg / GER), Florent Rouamba (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova), Alain Traoré ( Auxerre / FRA), Ousséni Zongo (Uniao Leiria / POR), Koffi Mohamed (Petrojet / EGY)
Forwards: Habib Bamogo (Nice / FRA), Aristide Bancé (Mainz / GER), Moumouni Dagano (Al Khor / QAT), Yssouf Kone (CFR Cluj / ROU), Youssouf Ouattara (Uniao Leiria / POR), Narcisse Yameogo (Mugan / AZE) Patrick Zoundi (Düsseldorf / GER)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ismael Bangoura, nicknamed "Tibra" has been everywhere in the beginning of the season with Rennes, scoring three goals, assisting a few others but more importantly he has shown an impressive willingness to sacrifice for the better of the team. He has been defending like the best of them, allowing his team-mates (Asamoah Gyan especially) to shine brighter than they would normally. Now Bangoura will have to earn that nickname back and will have to play the way Guinea can.
Paulo Duarte will be able to count on Aristide Bancé who is in top form and has been giving stellar performances with his German club of Mainz. With the newly promoted club in the Bundesliga, the diminutive striker who is an undisputed starter has managed to score five goals in eight games and is now the third top scorer of the Bundesliga. His club are currently fifth in the league, not bad for the newbies.
Burkina Faso are not a better team than Guinea on paper, far from it. Guinea has all kinds of individual players with bigger names and pedigrees than those of the Stallions. But this may mean very little on Sunday. After catastrophic performances, the Stallions could ensure their participation at the next ACN, and I believe they are much better armed than Guinea at the moment. Plus the absence of a Guinean audience in Accra cheering against them will make their tasks a little bit easier.
Guinea 0-1 Burkina-Faso
Massaër Ndiaye, Goal.com