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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon: Madagascar clash very important for Guinea’s ambitions, says Paul Put

5:22 AM MYT 22/06/2019
Paul Put
The 63-year-old tactician has reiterated that his side need to win their Afcon opener to ‘boost the team’s confidence’ for the other matches

Guinea coach Paul Put has stressed that a win against Madagascar in their opening Africa Cup of Nations game will give his side the confidence required to for the other games.

The Syli Nationale failed to win any of their preparatory games, losing 1-0 to Gambia and Benin Republic respectively, before bowing to a 3-1 defeat against tournament hosts Egypt in their final warm-up game.

Ahead of their opener against the Barea on Saturday, the Belgian-born coach wants his team to grab the maximum points – to boost not just their dwindling confidence from their disappointing pre-tournament games, but also their morale for the other tournament fixtures.

“The first match is very important for us,” Put told the media in his pre-match press conference.

“We need to win to boost our confidence for the other games.

“Madagascar have never played at the Afcon finals. They are a dangerous team and we have to be very careful. But I think we prepared very well to take them on."

When quizzed on the readiness of Naby Keita for the game, Put gave an encouraging response.

“[Naby] Keita is undergoing training with Liverpool’s fitness coach. We realised he has done good work and has improved. Physically, I think he is ready for tomorrow’s match, now we will see if he is going to start or come on later.

“The most important thing is that his situation has greatly improved.”