Afcon: Naby Keita named in Guinea's Africa Cup of Nations squad

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The Liverpool midfielder has been included in Paul Put's preliminary squad despite ongoing fitness concerns

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has been included in Guinea’s provisional Africa Cup of Nations squad, despite ongoing concerns about his fitness.

Paul Put’s 25-man squad was revealed by the Guinea Football Federation on Saturday, with Keita the most high-profile inclusion .

Jurgen Klopp described the midfielder's adductor injury as “very serious” when he was replaced during his side’s Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat by Barcelona on May 1, with the Liverpool coach predicting that the 24-year-old would face two months on the sidelines.

A disagreement between the Guinea Football Federation and Liverpool over the midfielder’s fitness ensued in the subsequent days; with Klopp denying accusations by the federation that the midfielder’s accelerated recovery was being kept under wraps.

“Naby is, I would say, a bit ahead of schedule, but that doesn’t mean anything for the [Champions League] final,” he told the club’s official website. “I know about the issues with Guinea and stuff like that; we don’t want to keep a player out if he can play – maybe they think it is like this, but it is not like this.

“For me, it would be good if Naby would be 100 per cent fit and could play the Africa Cup of Nations, to be 100 per cent honest. But we don’t know, we will see, and we need to work together with their medical department because in the end, a player who is fit – from my point of view – who can play, should play for his country.”

It remains to be seen if the midfielder will participate in the nation’s preparation for the biennial showpiece, which begins on June 21. 

Guinea have organised friendlies against The Gambia and Benin on June 7 and June 11 respectively, before they depart for Alexandria, as reported by Orange.

Put’s troops have been drawn in Group B where they will meet with Madagascar on June 22, before facing three-time champions Nigeria on 26 June.

Their final group stage fixture will be against Burundi on 30 June.

Amadou Diawara of Napoli, Ibrahima Traore of Borussia Monchengladbach and Toulouse defender Issiaga Sylla are some of the other high-profile players named by Put.

Guinea’s provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Naby Yattara (Excelsior, Reunion Island), Ibrahima Kone (Pau, France), Moussa Camara (AC Horoya), Aly Keita (Ostersunds, Sweden). 

Defenders: Fode Camara (Gazelec Ajaccio, France ), Issiaga Sylla (Toulouse, France), Ernest Seka (Nancy, France), Simon Falette (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Ousmane Sidibe (Beziers, France), Baissama Sankoh (Caen, France), Mikael Dyrestream (Xanthi FC, Greece), Julian Jeanvier (Brentford, England). 

Midfielders: Amadou Diawara (Napoli, Italy), Ibrahima Cisse (Fulham, England), Boubacar Fofana (Gaz Metan, Romania), Abdoulaye Paye Camara (Horoya AC), Naby Keita (Liverpool, England), Mady Camara (Olympiacos, Greece). 

Attackers: Francois Kamano (Bordeaux, France), Mohamed Yattara (Auxerre, France), Ibrahima Traore (Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany), Jose Kante (Nastic Tarragona, Spain), Idrissa Sylla (Zulte Waregem, Belgium), Fode Koita (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Sory Kaba (Dijon, France). 

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