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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon: Boco - Benin has for some time been one of the best nations in Africa

18:46 EAT 29/05/2019
Lalhmangaihsanga Romuald Boco Bharat FC Royal Wahingdoh FC I-League
The former Squirrels captain believes the West Africans can surprise competitors at the continental showpiece

Former Benin captain Romuald Boco believes the Squirrels can cause an upset at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

In an interview with Benin Sports, the 33-year-old pointed toward the unpredictability of football as a reminder that anything is possible for Benin.

“Personally, there are no small teams and whatever the groups [are], everything is possible,” Boco told Benin Sports.

“You saw the Champions League games between Liverpool and Barcelona. Nobody believed for a moment that Liverpool will win 4-0, but it happened.

“So let's be positive. Benin will shine by the grace of God. We will be behind them."

The former Portsmouth midfielder shared his advice from his own Afcon experiences, having featured for the West Africans in the 2004, 2008 and 2010 tournaments.

“At the time, I was 18 years old. I lived it like a dream. You had to be focused. For the first time, I had faced some great African players. I really enjoyed the competition.

“I really was thrilled to see each other again in front of the African scene after such a long and painful absence. I am very happy for the players, coaches, supporters and for our country.

“As far as I am concerned, I am very happy because I think that it's nice to see our kids representing us that way.

“I am personally proud of the work done and wish the Squirrels to do even better than my generation could have done and that is really possible. Benin is well able to achieve the feat in Egypt.

“I have encouraged some players because it is normal that I support the whole team and its technical staff.

“I had the privilege of playing under this coach and without any debate, he is the best that Benin has had since my first selection. He will pass the message to the players that all Beninese support.

“In my time, he knew how to motivate us. After the match of Algeria and the qualification against Togo, I think that Benin can reconnect with the success that goes back to his last time at the head of Squirrels and make a beautiful tournament.

“I ask them to give the maximum and follow the advice of the coach. Knowing his way of working, he studies and works a lot on other teams. That's how to win the matches he sees. For the rest, we will be behind them from near or far.”

Boco will cheer on his compatriots as they play West African neighbours Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and defending champions Cameroon on June 25, June 29 and July 2 in Group F respectively.