Home Sports AFCON 2023 AFCON 2023: Equatorial Guinea, the surprise package

AFCON 2023: Equatorial Guinea, the surprise package

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Equatorial Guinea has emerged as a surprise-package in this year’s African Cup of Nations after qualifying for the knockout round from Group A in impressive fashion.

Nzalang Nacional was pitted against hosts and two-time champions Ivory Coast, three-time champions Nigeria and Guinea Bissau.

On paper, most pundits had predicted The Elephants and The Super Eagles would book their places in the next round, but The National Thunder proved they thrive perfectly under the pressure, silencing all critics and doubters.

The west-central country that has a population of less than two million people, had little hopes of qualifying from a group stacked with champions-pedigree but an opening draw against Nigeria proved that the country was capable of hanging with the elites.

The super Eagles saved their blushes with a Victor Osimhen penalty, as they found The National Thunder a tough nut to crack.

Emilio Nsue has been in the forefront of his country’s success in the group stage, with the captain scoring five goals in three matches. His hat trick was influential in the country’s second match as they drubbed Guinea Bissau 4-2.

He would later star in his country’s 4-0 thrashing of host-nation Ivory Coast; with 2 goals in each half, a result that would be deemed as the upset of the tournament.

The win was vital for the team and the country with the country’s president declaring a national holiday, a day after Ivory Coast’s 4-0 humbling.

Equatorial Guinea proceeded to the next round with 7 points, with two wins and one draw.

The 34-year-old Spanish-born player who plays for CF Intercity currently leads the golden boot race with 5 goals.

John Njuguna
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