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Afcon 2012 team profile – Equatorial Guinea – posted by

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Henri Michel © Backpagepix

Afcon 2012 team profile – Equatorial Guinea

by Franck Happi 10 November 2011, 09:22

It will be an unknown Equatorial Guinean team that will participate for its first time at the Africa Cup of Nations 2012. The Nzalang National, as the team is fondly called, will present the kind of challenge that little known countries like Botswana are presenting today. Most of the players are home based, playing with division one clubs such as Deportivo Mongomo, Sony Ela Nguema, San Rogue Lepe and The Panters Malabo.

A few, however, play semi-professional football in Europe and America. This is the case with players like Rodolfo Bodipo, who plays for Deportivo La Coruna in Spain, Francisco Duclair Mbome, who plays for St Paul Twin Stars,and ace striker Thierry Fidjeu from Konyasport in Turkey.

Having the majority of the squad playing at home should have been an asset for team building and cohesion,yet the team swims in perpetual crisis.The League never kicked off, the team is not given the required attention it needs and Coach Henri Michel had to throw in the towel last month to provoke a reaction from officials. He was, however, reinstated some days later. Michel feels his team is weaker than all the others. He told that winning any match will be like climbing Everest.

The Nzalang National may, however, spring surprises on their rivals, who may consider them as underdogs. The FA officials have chosen to naturalise players that had no future in their various countries to beef up the squad.This policy started with the Equatorial-Guinean female team that shocked everyone when it hosted the African Female Nations Cup. It would be recalled that the Nzalang National held the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to a 1-1 draw in a friendly encounter.

Playing at home with financial and home support may be a great booster for the team as they hope to make a first impression in the competition but the lack of experience from which the team suffers may be prejudicial. No Equatorial-Guinean team is involved in continental competitions such as the African Champions League and the Confederation Cup. This lack of competition will act to their disadvantage as they are not exposed to tough challenges.

Also, the players don’t play in renowned clubs, which can help them bring some experience to the team. They are unknown and cannot instill any psychological fear in the mind of defenders and goalkeepers of rival teams. Instead they are liable to make the kind of mistakes first timers make in such a major competition as the Nations Cup.

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