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Afcon: Will Guinea cope without Naby Keita?

It is safe to presume that Naby Keita is the engine of Guinea as he has been orchestrating every move that the Syli Nationale makes at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon.

With two Man of the Match awards and a goal in three group stage matches, Keita played an instrumental role in ensuring that Guinea qualifies for the knockout stage. They finished in second place with four points in Group B.

However, the Liverpool midfielder and Guinea’s captain will miss the round of 16 tie after picking up his second yellow card of the competition in the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe.

In spite of that, Guinea coach Kaba Diawara has said that his troops won’t be lacking in courage or conviction when they tackle Gambia this evening (18:00).

“We have reached an important stage, and I told my players we have to treat the game as a final,” said Diawara.

“In 2019, we were knocked out on the same stage, but we want it better this time around. We have to be very careful approaching the game against a very good Gambia team.

“What we want is to have the best start against Gambia as we seek the important win that will elevate us to the quarterfinals.”

Amadou Diawara, who plays in midfielder for Guinea, added, “We are playing against an excellent team that has not lost a match in the tournament despite being debutants.

“We respect them, but we all are going for a win and nothing else. We realize the importance of this game because a win will give a lot of hope to our people back at home. We will play just like we would be playing in a final.”

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