By Amakye Ansah
#8. Equatorial Guinea 🇬🇶
Nickname: National Thunder
Coach: Juan Micha ( Equatorial Guinea)
Best AFCON Results: fourth place (2015)
Skipper: Emilio Nsue
Player to watch: Carlos Akapo
National thunder won all their home games in the world cup qualifiers including a 1-0 win against Tunisia. Their only defeat of the qualifiers came on matchday 1 when they lost 3-0 away to Tunisia. They are a difficult nut to crack.
They reached the semi-finals of the 2015 AFCON when they hosted the 30th edition of the competition. This is only their third time and expectations back home won’t be as high as it was in 2015.
Emilio Nsue, all-time top scorer for National Thunder (12 goals) will be required to lead the team with his vast experience.
They are in a very difficult group and will start their campaign against Ivory Coast. They will play defending champions Algeria in MD2 and finish the group with a game against Sierra Leone.
Juan Micha’s squad will be dominated by Spanish based players. Cadiz defender Carlos Akapo will provide solidity at the back for Equatorial Guinea.
The core of the team
Jesus Owono hasn’t been a regular for Alaves but he is for National Thunder. He is their main goalkeeper and is expected to start.
Equatorial Guinea can rely on Carlos Akapo and Emilio Nsue for inspiration from the defence. These are their two top players and all are defenders though the latter can play also as a winger and forward.
Pablo Ganet and Jose Machin will link the defence and the attack.
CF Fuenlabrada forward Ivan Salvador will serve as their major threat from the wings.
Hercules midfielder, Frederico Bikoro will play the number 10 role.
Oscar Siafa of Olympiacos Volos will lead the attack for Equatorial Guinea.
Jesus Owono (Gk)
Emilio Nsue, Carlos Akapo, Coco- Bassey, Basilio Ndong (DF)
Ganet, Machin, (DM)
Iban Salvador, Federico Bikoro, Ruben Belima (AM)
Oscar Siafa (ATT)
Expectations: Group stages exit