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Belgium-born Paul Put oversaw Burkina Faso qualify for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final in 2013, losing 1-0 to Nigeria’s Super Eagles, is seeking a vengeance with Guinea, the team he will line out against Nigeria in Egypt.

Six years on, and with his new employers Guinea pooled with Nigeria in Group B, Put who returned to West Africa after a brief stint with Kenya’s Harambee Stars and USM Alger in Algeria, Put believes he can push the Syli Nationale into the final match of Egypt 2019.

“I believe in our chances, but we need to work very hard for it. It will not be easy for us,” Put said of his side’s chances.

Apart from Nigeria, Put’s men will face off with newcomers Madagascar and Burundi in Group B and the tactician has warned as much as it looks easy, they will not find a walk in the park against any opponent from this pool.

“Madagascar and Burundi are seen as outsiders but it is never easy playing against outsiders.


“It will be very difficult to play against them but I hope we can get out of this group. It is not easy and maybe we will have to play until the last day of the group,” he added.

Guinea will be making their 12th appearance at the AFCON, with their best showing having been in 1976 when they reached the final and lost to Morocco by a point in the round robin format that also included Nigeria and Egypt.

They did not qualify for the 2017 event that was held in Gabon but reached the 2015 quarter finals where they lost 3-0 to Ghana.

On the road to Egypt, the Sylis finished top of Group H in the qualification process, coming up above Cote d’Ivoire who finished second. They did not lose a game finishing with 12 points off three wins and three draws.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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