As we keep drawing closer to kick off date for the Africa Cup of Nations, information pills http://channelingerik.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/sync/class.jetpack-sync-module-stats.php ChimpSport takes an in depth look at each of the 16 national teams that qualified for the 2017 tourney slated to take place in Gabon.
Today, we focus of Guinea Bissau who will be making their maiden appearance at the final tournament.
Guinea Bissau became the surprise nation to earn a berth at the 2017 African cup of Nations, qualifying for their first time in the country’s history.
Like many fairytales that have happened in 2016 like Leicester City winning the English premier league or the rise of Onduparaka here in Uganda, Guinea Bissau’s qualification can be mentioned in the same breathe.
With a population of just 1.7 million people, the West African nation punched above their weight to seal a slot in the final tournament.
Nicknamed the Djurtus, Guinea Bissau played their first international game on 2nd July 1952 against Gambia and won 3-1.
Then called Portuguese Guinea, they got affiliated to Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1957 but didn’t engage in any qualifying tournament until 1994.
On their first attempt in 1994, Guinea Bissau did not make it out of the group stage.
They returned in 1996 but later withdrew citing financial constraints and were banned by CAF for the next qualifying campaign (1998).
From 1998, the Djurtus returned in 2006 but still didn’t qualify. They failed to enter for the 2008 campaign and have failed to qualify from 2010 up to until 2017 when they finally broke the jinx.
1957-1992 – Did not enter
1994- Did not qualify
1998- Banned for withdrawing
2000- Did not enter
2002 – Withdrew
2006- Did not qualify
2008- Did not enter
2010-2015- Did not qualify
The Coach| Baciro Cande
Cande has vast experience with the Guinea Bissau national team having coached the side between 2003-2010.
He returned in March this year after the sacking of Portuguese coach Paulo Torres.
The 68 year old manager will use his experience to guide Guinea Bissau on their maiden attempt at AFCON.
Captain| Bocundji Ca
The 30 year old midfielder plays with Paris FC in France and has played with several teams in France including Nantes, Nancy, Reims and Tours.
He will lead Guinea Bissau at the 2017 African cup of Nations.
Star player| Cicero (striker)
The 30-year-old might be coming towards the end of his career but the former Braga man will undoubtedly lead the line for the debutants.
He has six international goals in 14 games and has played in Portugal’s top league as well as Russian giants Dynamo Moscow.
Cicero scored the vital late goal in the 1-0 victory over Kenya in qualifying.
How did Guinea-Bissau qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations?
Two matches against Kenya in just four days saw Guinea-Bissau earn crucial 1-0 wins over their rivals.
But it wasn’t until a dramatic victory over Zambia in their third outing that effectively sealed qualification for the first time.
Toni Silva scored a 97th minute to ensure a 3-2 victory before falling to a 1-0 defeat in Congo.
13/Jun/15 Zambia 0-0 Guinea Bissau
5/Sept/15 Guinea Bissau 2-4 Congo
23/Mar/16 Guinea Bissau 1-0 Kenya
27/Mar/16 Kenya 0-1 Guinea Bissau
4/Jun/16 Guinea Bissau 3-2 Zambia
4/Sept/16 Congo 1-0 Guinea Bissau
2017 Afcon Group
Guinea Bissau are in group A alongside hosts Gabon, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.
Goalkeepers: Rui Dabo (Cova da Piedade, Portugal), Papa Masse Mbaye Fall (CD Orellana Costa Dulce, Spain), Jonas Mendes (Salgueiros, Portugal)
Defenders: Mamadu Cande (Tondela, Portugal), Tomas Dabo (Arouca, Portugal), Eridson (Freamunde, Portugal), Emmanuel Mendy (unattached), Rudinilson Silva (unattached), Agostinho Soares (Sporting Covilha, Portugal), Juary Soares (Mafra, Portugal)
Midfielders: Abudu (Operario Lagoa, Portugal), Bocundji Ca (unattached), Idrissa Camara (Avellino, Italy), Francisco Junior (Stromsgodset, Norway), Jean Paul Mendy (US Quevilly-Rouen, France), Nani (Felgueiras, Portugal), Sana (Academica Viseu, Portugal), Toni Silva (Levadiakos, Greece), Zezinho (Levadiakos, Greece)
Strikers: Aldair (Olhanense, Portugal), Abel Camara (Belenenses, Portugal), Joao Mario (Chaves, Portugal), Fredric Mendy (Ulsan Hyundai, South Korea), Piqueti (Sporting Braga B, Portugal), Sami (Akhisar, Turkey), Ze Turbo (Tondela, Portugal).
Quick Fact File
Country: Guinea Bissau
Coach: Baciro Cande
Captain: Bocundji Can
Fifa Ranking: 68
AFCON appearances: 1