Guinea v Rwanda – Battle of the unexpected

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Limbe Stadium will be the place when Guinea faces Rwanda in the quarterfinal match if the ongoing Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), Cameroon 2020.

Rwanda, the surprise package of the tournament finished second in Group C to qualify for the knock-out stage, while Guinea topped Group D.

Guinea are eyeing a second appearance in the semifinals after the 2011 edition in Sudan when they finished fourth, while Rwanda hope for a first ever place in the final four. Their best CHAN outing where when they reached the quarters at home in 2016 before bowing to eventual champions DR Congo in extra-time.

Mohamed Kanfoury Bangoura - Guinea Coach

Guinea Syli Nationale, unbeaten in their last four CHAN matches, made it clear they want to go as far as possible, but at the same time paying enough respect to their opponents on the night.

“We must be careful against Rwanda”, Guinea coach Mohamed Kanfory Bangoura stressed. “We had a 2-2 draw with Tanzania, a team from CECAFA zone. Now we are facing another team from the same region in Rwanda.”

Bangoura said that although Guinea scored six goals in the group stage, they must improve and take their chances, while at the same time remain very tight defensively because this is now the knock-out stage.

Guinea will look to the tournament leading goal scorer Yakhouba Gnagna Barry (3 goals) together with Morlaye Sylla to find the goals. But their defense should also put an eye on Rwanda’s Jacques Tuyisenge and Olivier Niyonzima.

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Meanwhile, Rwanda coach Vincent Mashami has warned that his side will be a hard nut to crack. The Amavubi are unbeaten in their last six CHAN games, a statistic that their tactician finds encouraging.

“Although we respect Guinea, we are looking forward to bringing out another high-level performance with good mentality, physical presence and tactical awareness,” said Mashami.

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Mashami, who was the assistant coach when Rwanda reached the quarter finals in CHAN 2016 said that although the knockout stage is a different ball game, his team has prepared well for it.

“We are happy to be among the best eight. Right from the beginning we knew nothing would be easy, but we are ready,” he added.

The winner will face either Mali or Congo in Japoma on February 3rd.