Paul Put and his Guinean side are on the brink of elimination from the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Egypt 2019. They face Burundi on Sunday night the Al Salaam Stadium in Cairo and their only objective will be to earn three points.
The Syli Nationale are sitting third in Group B with just one point off their draw against Madagascar and if they fail to win on Sunday, then their tournament will come to an end. For a team that has reached the quarter finals in four of their last five appearances, this would be a huge under achievement.
Their fate of finishing second in the group to earn an automatic slot in the round of 16 is out of their hands. In the other group match, Madagascar just need a point to finish second.
Guinea’s hope, if that happens will be to finish as one of the best four number three teams and that will only be made possible by victory.
Head coach Put has admitted that Naby Keita’s injury has set them back. The Liverpool midfielder picked up an injury on May 1 during a Champions League game against Barcelona and has only returned to action recently in Cairo.
He came on as a sub in the first game and was a starter in the second, though he couldn’t play yhe entire 90. Put believes that had he been fit, then Guinea would have done better.
While Guinea will be fancied to win this tie, debutants Burundi are not just about to walk in lying down. They have lost back to back matches but still have some glimmer of hope to qualify for the second round if they can win and other groups post results favorable to them.
The Eastern Africans are yet to score a goal in this competition and this will be one of their driving forces when they play Guinea. Saido Berahino, their skipper at this competition has not been lucky infront of goal, but believes they can get something for their efforts in their last game of the group stage.
What they said
Olivier Niyungiko (Coach, Burundi)
We are having our third match against Guinea and we have nothing but to win if we want to remain in the tournament. Being here (in AFCON) for the first time is a great challenge for us and we gained a lot of experience here.
Playing against big teams in the continent is a great chance for development and I congratulate my players and myself on this participation and for bringing honor to football in our country. We hope to get a good result in our last game.
Saido Berahino (Captain, Burundi)
We had to learn a lot from our debut participation and learn from our mistakes. We had good games despite losing them. We will do our best in the third match against Guinea as we need to make people in Burundi happy.
Paul Put (Coach, Guinea)
We are facing a decisive game. I hope we could win all three points to boost our qualification chances. The point we have will earn us a good position to qualify if we can win against Burundi. I work without pressure about my future. Guinea is a promising team and we have to keep patient as we are building a team for the future. Our focus now is to win our third match and our players have great will to win.
Nabi Keita (Captain, Guinea)
I’m not 100% ready because of injury but am gradually getting better. I will discuss with the team’s doctor and we will see what happens after the final training session and whether I can take part or not. I definitely want to help my teammates in this decisive game.