Even though he was left out of coach Paul Put’s Africa Cup of Nations squad, Simon Falette says the Syli Nationale will try to be among the best teams in Egypt as Guineans have high expectations on the team.
The 27-year-old Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back believes Guinea have the quality to perform well in the continental showpiece, which started on Friday night.
“We are ambitious, but we have to face the truth as well. It’s true we are willing to have a good campaign, but our first objective is to qualify from the group stage,” the defender told France Football in a lengthy interview.
“Then, we shall see what happens. In Guinea, the expectations are high. The supporters are expecting us to do something great at the Afcon. We have a good generation of players plying their trade in good clubs. There is quality in the team. We will try to be among the best.
“The last time, we were knocked out in the quarter-finals [in 2015]. People are expecting us to do better this time.
“Everything is in place in the team; the only thing missing is a good result. By the time we start having good results – as we did during the qualifiers, with stability, things would work out.”
Despite going into the first game against Madagascar on the back of three defeats during the build-up to the tournament, Falette remains optimistic about Guinea’s chances.
“I think we are ready for this. We have a united and solid team, a young team certainly, but also have experience," he added.
"That is our strength. The team is very complete. There are technically gifted leaders in the team like Naby Keita and Amadou Diawara.
"The most important thing is that there is quality in the team. We must not waste all of these at the Afcon.
Falette also provide an update about the fitness of Keita, who has just recovered from a thigh injury which kept him out of action for over a month.
“He [Keita] is doing fine. He is in good form. He trained very well and I hope he will be ready to start the competition. We know he was injured, which affected the latter part of his season," Falette added.
"He is a very important leader, a technically gifted leader. And right now, he is with us and we are very happy.
"He is a Guinean who has succeeded in life. He was raised in Guinea. He came to Europe and made it. Currently, he is among the best. We are all proud of him.”