Soccer-Profile of Equatorial Guinea team for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations

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ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Factbox on Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Equatorial Guinea.

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Africa Cup of Nations record:

Previous appearances in finals: (3) 2012, 2015, 2021

Best performance: Semi-finalists 2015

Drawn in Group A with Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

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Coach: Juan Micha

The 48-year-old former international had some coaching experience in Spain at Fuenlabrada before returning home to join the local football federation, coaching first the women’s teams before taking on the under-17 team. He was asked to step in as a caretaker coach in November 2020 in the Cup of Nations qualifiers and after the side won key games, was offered an initial one-year contract. But that was extended after the heroics of the last finals in Cameroon where an upset win over Algeria in the group phase was followed by progress to the last eight for the small central African nation.

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Key player: Saul Coco. Age: 24 Defender

Born in Lanzarote on the Canary Islands with his father from Equatorial Guinea, he is the only player in a squad heavily populated by Spanish-based players who competes regularly in LaLiga, having won promotion last season with Las Palmas. He played a pivotal role last season as his club finished second to win automatic promotion. He was centre back at the last finals in Cameroon and did not miss a minute for Equatorial Guinea in their giant killing run to the quarter-finals.

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FIFA world ranking Dec 2023: 88

How they qualified: Second placed team in qualifying Group J, behind Tunisia but ahead of Botswana and Libya.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Aitor Embela (CD Soneja), Manuel Sapunga (Polokwane City), Jesus Owono (Deportivo Alaves)

Defenders: Carlos Akapo (San Jose Earthquakes), Marvin Anieboh (CD Illescas), Hugo Buyla (Sampdoria), Saul Coco (Las Palmas), Jose Elo (Merida), Basilio Ndong (Universitatea Craiova), Charles Ondo (Huddersfield Town), Esteban Orozco (Arges), Nestor Senra (Real Aviles Industrial)

Midfielders: Luis Asue (Sporting Braga), Alex Balboa (Huesca), Federico Bikoro (Club Africain), Jannick Buyla (Logrones), Santiago Eneme (MFK Vyskov), Pablo Ganet (Alcoyano), Jose Machin (Monza), Josete Miranda (Niki Volou), Federico Nguema (CSF Balti), Iban Salvador (Miedz Legnica)

Forwards: Noe Ela (Numancia), Jose Nabil (Cano Sport), Emilio Nsue (Inter City), Salomon Obama (Santa Coloma), Oscar Siafa (Alessandria).

– TheStar

(Compiled by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis)


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