Date: 24 January 2022
Time: 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT)
Venue: Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam
Round of 16
Match: Guinea v Gambia
Guinea – Syli with high hopes
Guinea will miss star player Naby Keita through suspension. The Liverpool midfielder has been orchestrating every move that the team makes at the tournament, as evident by his two men of the match awards in opening games against Malawi and Senegal.
The Syli Nationale picked up 4 points, beating Malawi 1-0, having a goalless draw with Senegal before losing 2-1 to Zimbabwe, but still, they had done enough to finish in second place.
Kaba Diawara will need to find the right strategy to make his frontline get the goals against a very dangerous Scorpions’ side.
What they said
Kaba Diawara (Coach, Guinea)
“We have reached an important stage and I told my players we have to treat the game as a final. In 2019 we were knocked out on the same stage, but we want it better this time around. We have to be very careful approaching the game against a very good Gambia team. What we want is to have the best start against the Gambia as we seek the important win that will elevate us to the quarterfinals.”
Amadou Diawara (Midfielder, Guinea)
“We are playing against a very solid team that has not lost a match in the tournament despite being debutants. We respect them, but we all are going for a win and nothing else. We realize the importance of this game because a win will give a lot of hope to our people back at home. We will play just like we would be playing in a final.”
Gambia – Fairytale to be continued
The debutants from the Gambia have been impressive and have literally punched above their weight.
Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet moulded a side that is disciplined, fearless and deadly. The Gambia picked up an impressive 7 points from a group that had two favourites in Mali and Tunisia.
They managed a 1-0 win against Mauritania, a 1-1 draw against Mali, and saved the best for last stunning Tunisia in that late stoppage-time 1-0 victory.
Besides conceding a lone goal from the spot, they also have a potent strike force with the likes of Musa Barrow and Ablie Jallow.
What they said
“Guinea is the favourites, but that actually gives us a lot of motivation because we are in the knockout stages in our first appearance. We are not afraid as we have been together with the players for over three years, meaning we have cohesion and great team spirit. Kaba Diawara was my player in Qatar. We can employ different styles and approaches in different match situations. We want nothing short of a win and Guinea must be prepared for a proper duel.”Tom Saintfiet (Coach, Gambia)
“Everybody in the team is very motivated. Even though we know Guinea are favourite on paper, they should expect a good game as it is our intention to get the victory. We have played every game like a final and that is the same game plan we have against Guinea. Our motivation as players is getting a new challenge and coming out victorious.”Sulayman Marreh (Midfielder, Gambia)