I hope to score against Cote d’Ivoire in the opening match – Zinho Gano


Top scorer for Guinea-Bissau during the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d'Ivoire 2023 Qualifiers with four goals, Zinho Gano, is hopeful of impressing at the tournament.

The Zulte Waregem striker in Belgium, who is preparing to makes his TotalEnergies CAF AFCON debut intends to keep the momentum.

The “Djurtus” share Group A with hosts Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea – a group Gano believes is possible to make it out of.

Exclusively speaking to CAFOnline ahead of their opener to be played at the majestic Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpe on 13 January, the 30-year-old discusses his country's chances and personal ambitions for the tournament.


How was the trip from Bissau to Abidjan?

It was long, we are all tired. But the most important thing is that we arrived safely, everything went well and we are happy to be here.


What are your first impressions since your arrival in Cote d’Ivoire?

We arrived Monday evening and we were well received, both at the airport and at the hotel. Everyone is happy to be here. It is now up to us to show something.


How do you describe the atmosphere within your group?

The atmosphere is good, we work hard, we work well and the atmosphere off the field is good. So I hope we continue like this.


What does the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON mean to you, personally?

It’s a proud moment to be here. As a player, its a great platform to show what you can do.


You will have the honor of playing the opening match against the organizing country. Does that put a certain pressure on you in the group?

No, no pressure. On the contrary, for us it is an honor to play a match like this. The opening match is something special, there will be maybe at least 60,000 people in the stadium. I am a professional footballer, so it is for this type of match that we practice this profession. I'm really looking forward to playing a match like this.


During these three previous participations, Guinea-Bissau have never managed to get past the group stage. Is your goal for this edition at least to surpass this first stage of the competition?

Of course! We didn't even win a match. So our first goal is to win a match and then, to manage to get past the first stage. I know its a difficult group with Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria but we will see. In football, anything is possible.


In this group, we have Nigeria who have already won the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON three times, Equatorial Guinea which was semi-finalist in 2015 before reaching the quarter-finals during the previous edition in Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire which, in addition to being the organizing country, has already won the competition twice. What do you make of this?

We know that these are very big countries, but this is an opportunity for us to show that we are there too. We have a good group and we are also here for the fourth time, it shows that we are worth something too.


You were Guinea-Bissau's top scorer during the qualifiers with four goals. The final phase is a different story. Do you have any personal goals for this TotalEnergies CAF AFCON?

Its just about scoring as much as possible for my team and for myself. I hope I score in the opening match against Cote d’Ivoire, that would be great.


Finishing top scorer in the competition, doesn't the idea cross your mind?

Why not! In football, as they say, anything is possible. For me, that would be wonderful.


What is the main instruction circulating within your team regarding this competition where you represent the hope of an entire nation?

Everyone must believe that anything is possible. Even for this opening match. With opening matches, there are always surprises and why not, with us. We can win like everyone else, even if it's Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria or Senegal. The match is 11 against 11 and anything is possible.


Do you have a special message to send to the Guinea-Bissau public for this TotalEnergies CAF AFCON?

Just being behind us, we need his support. Its up to us to show that we will give everything for them and for ourselves.