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Guinea, Botswana to revive Cup campaign


FRANCEVILLE — Guinea and Botswana will be pressed to win today after both teams lost their opening Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group D matches.

A win for either team will revive their hopes, which suffered a setback after opening day losses respectitvely to Mali and Ghana.

“We have to fight to win against Botswana,” said Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer, who lost his 82-year-old father about the time his team were losing to Mali Tuesday night.

“Botswana are a difficult team to play against. They close down the space and defend very well.
“I watched their games against Tunisia and Chad on video.

They defend very well and counter attack.
“It may have been very disappointing to lose our first game, but I’m proud of the performance of the team. All the same, we cannot sit on that. We have to improve.

“We are working for the future and so have several young players, who are only having their first experience at this tournament, but I still expect us to do better against Botswana.”

Guinea’s experienced campaigner Bobo Balde also agreed Saturday’s match will not be a walk-over for his team.

“We have watched their tapes and also know that even though they are only making their debut at this tournament, they made things very difficult for a team like Ghana,” said the towering central defender.

“But we believe in ourselves and we want to win this game.”

Besides a strong showing especially in the second half, the Zebras from Botswana will be boosted by the return of skipper Diphetogo Selolwane, who missed the Ghana clash due to suspension.

“Dipsy” from top South African club SuperSport United is one of the most experienced Botswana players, whose foreign destinations have included a sojourn in the United States.

He said he expects a tougher match against Guinea than what they faced when up against Ghana.

“We played Guinea before home and away and they beat us. They are good footballers, who play good football and they play a different style from Ghana,” said Dipsy.

“They play real African football, where you are very aggressive and they use their big bodies, but there is always a way around it. I believe we can beat them.”

Botswana coach Stanley Tshosane has rated the Guinea match as a must-win, while asking for cash incentives for the team.

“This is a decisive game and it is very important for us. It is a must-win game. A draw will not work for us. We have to take risks and not be cautious as we were at the beginning against Ghana,” said Tshosane.

The Zebras finished top of a qualifying group that included Tunisia, Togo and Malawi, and Tshosane said he was not in any doubt that he had a quality team in Gabon.

“You have seen how they played. It is not easy to play like that against a team of Ghana’s calibre. And now I believe these boys can turn things around here.”

However, earlier this month, the players threatened to stay away from a final warm-up match at home to Zimbabwe to press home their demands for a $15 000-a-man bonus for qualifying for the Afcon.
Tshosane said some cash in the pockets of his players will lift them above Guinea.

“There are a lot of things the players are not happy with and it is high time they were given money to boost their morale,” urged the coach, who celebrated his 55th birthday last week.

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