India is all set to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scheduled to kick off on 6th October. 24 countries from six confederations will be competing for one of the biggest honours in youth football with the matches being hosted in six cities across the country.
In this segment, we take a look at Guinea's U-17 team and guide you through their journey to the world cup, highlighting their achievements, key players, coach and much more.
Confederation: CAF (Africa)
Nicknames: Le Syli Cadet (Junior National Elephants)
Coach: Souleymane Camara
PAST RECORDS AND LAURELS
The Guinean youth side has made four appearances at the Under-17 World Cup. The side participated in their first FIFA U-17 World Cup in the year 1985, having grabbed a fourth position finish which is their best till date. In the 1989 U-17 World Cup in Scotland, the Junior National EElephants missed out on a place in the second round despite finishing the group phase unbeaten with three draws. Six years later, the team from the CAF participated in the 1995 U-17 World Cup at Ecuador where they failed to advance from their pool as they fell prey to Argentina and Costa Rica. The Guineans suffered another first-round exit in 2015 in Chile where they drew 1-1 with England and lost 3-1 and 1-0 to Brazil and Korea Republic, respectively.
Apart from their record at the biggest event of youth football, Guinea have had a decent history of results at Africa U-17 Cup of Nations. The side has successfully ended on the third spot thrice (1995, 2015 and 2017) in their six appearances in the competition.
ROAD TO U-17 WORLD CUP
In the 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations held at Gabon, Guinea was drawn against Morocco in the second round of qualifying where they came from 1-0 down in both legs before advancing on penalties on Moroccan soil. After surpassing the third round, they kicked off the continental finals in Gabon with a 5-1 victory over the host nation followed by a 1-1 draw with Cameroon and a goalless draw with Ghana. This secured them a place in the last four and also a berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. In the semi-finale, Guinea was beaten on penalties (2-0) by Ghana but went on to beat Niger 3-1 in third place play-off.
PREPARATIONS AHEAD OF THE MEGA-EVENT
Following their performance at Gabon's 2017 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, the players were given a week's holiday. After that, the young guns of Guinea took part in a month long training camp at Italy followed by another ten-day camp in Abu Dhabi.
Souleymane Camara a.k.a 'Abedi' is a former playmaker. Camara boasts an excellent reputation in Guinea, having enjoyed a long and successful career as a player-coach during which he won two national cups with FC Sequence. The former coach of Guinean first division side Satellite FC is a young gaffer who aims to make it to at least the second round with his young guns who are still developing.