Guinea-Bissau – Djurtus

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Africa Cup of Nations record

Previous appearances in finals: (2) 2017, 2019

Best performance: Group phase

Drawn in Group D with Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan

Coach: Baciro Cande

Cande has become a national hero in the former Portuguese colony for engineering three successive qualifications for the Cup of Nations finals after decades of being one of the continent’s whipping boys.

The 54-year-old, who played in Portugal’s lower leagues, won nine league titles in the small west African country as coach of Sporting Bissau, five of them in successive years.

He had a previous stint as coach of the national team from 2003-2008 when he took over at the age of 36.

Key player: Pele Age: 30. Midfielder.

Portuguese-born Judilson Mamadu Tuncara Gomes, known as Pele, had just turned 17 when he made his league debut with Belenenses in 2009. Two years later he played in the Portugal side that lost 3-2 in extra time to Brazil in the final of the U-20 World Cup in Colombia.

AC Milan signed him straight after that tournament but he never played in Serie A, loaned out instead as he failed to kick on at senior level.

He signed a five-year deal with Monaco in mid-2018 but struggled for regular playing time in Ligue 1. That did not stop him from making a big impact for Guinea Bissau after he switched his international allegiance.

FIFA world ranking Dec 2021: 106

How they qualified: Second placed team in Group I, behind Senegal but ahead of Congo and Eswatini.


Goalkeepers: Manuel Balde (Vizela), Maurice Gomis (Ayia Napa), Jonas Mendes (Beira Mar)

Defenders: Leonel Alves (Marinhense), Fali Cande (Portimonense), Jefferson Encada (Leixoes), Sori Mane (Moreirense), Fernandy Mendy (Alloa Athletic), Nanu (FC Porto), Opa Sangante (Sochaux), Simao Junior (Vilafranquense)

Midfielders: Alfa Semedo (Vitoria Guimaraes), Bura (Farense), Panutchi Camara (Plymouth Argyle), Moreto Cassama (Stade Reims), Joao Jaquite (Vilafranquense), Pele (Monaco)

Forwards: Steve Ambri (Sochaux), Mama Balde (Troyes), Jorginho (Wisla Plock), Joseph Mendes (Niort), Frederic Mendy (Vitoria Setubal), Piqueti (Al Shoalah), Mauro Rodrigues (FC Sion).