Afcon 2019: Naby Keita’s absence is a big loss against Algeria – Guinea captain Traore

The midfielder has returned to Liverpool for medical treatment after suffering a thigh injury in Egypt

Guinea captain Ibrahim Traore admitted that Naby Keita’s absence is a big loss for the team ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Round of 16 clash against Algeria on Sunday.

Keita returned to England last Sunday, after the Syli Nationale’s 2-0 victory over Burundi in their final group outing.

Even though Keita might not be fit to feature against The Desert Foxes, Traore revealed the Champions League winner is still an important part of the dressing room.

“Naby is our star player. He won the Champions League, so when you have one of the best players on the continent, who plays in a big club but who is not able to help us, it’s a big loss, it’s not easy,” Traore said in his pre-match conference, per Reuters.

“We would all have liked that he is with us, not only for his quality in the game but also for the confidence he brings to the group by knowing that we have a very great player with us who can make the difference.

“There are other players who also have qualities. It brings us even closer together, knowing that we cannot count on Naby Keita and that now we will have to do it as a team.”

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Saturday's meeting will be the third time Algeria and Guinea have met on the continental stage and Traore admitted that the North Africans will be tough to beat.

“We know that tomorrow will be a very tough match. Algeria has played the best football at this tournament so it will be like a final for us because we know we are playing a better team than us,” he added.

“We have nothing to lose, the pressure will be on our opponent.”