Guinea coach Kanfory Bangoura is hopeful that his side can win Wednesday's derby with neighbours Mali in the semi-finals of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon on Wednesday.
The Sylli National are under pressure to win the match at the Japoma Stadium in Douala knowing that their country’s President Alpha Conde will be following the game having excelled so far in the tournament.
But Guinea will have to play the last four match without one of their key players Mory Kante who was shown a red card in their quarter-final match against Rwanda which is a big blow to the side.
Bangoura admits that playing against their arch-rivals requires mental strength especially with the country’s leader who would be watching hoping to see the Sylli National seal their place in the final of the competition.
“Knowing that the president values our work is a source of motivation. We will do everything not to disappoint him,” the coach of the Guinea national team Bangoura said.
“It is generally difficult in matches between Guinea and Mali. It's a mental derby, it's a match that will be played mainly on the mental aspect. And we will do everything to impose our qualities.
The Guinea boss admits that the absence of Kante will affect his strategy to be deployed for the match but believes he has the depth in the squad to ensure that the gap is adequately filled.
“It's true it's a big absence, but I'll find a way to do well without him. The hardest part has been done, now we have to think about the final,” the Guinea coach said.
“To play two semi-finals without going to the final, that would be a shame but we are determined to go all the way to try to reach the final.
“We have a good team, well-motivated and have what it takes to win the title.”
Mali will have to dig deep to defeat a solid Guinean formation which is undefeated in four matches at the tournament designed exclusively for home-based players.
The Sylli National have scored seven times and conceded only three since the start of the competition.