Herewith some reactions from the official draw from the TOTAL Africa Cup of Nations 2017 held on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 in Libreville;
Baciro Cande (Head Coach, Guinea Bissau) All the groups are tough. For us (Guinea Bissau), it will be our first time and we are a team with no experience. We have good and professional players who can contribute in our quest for good results. During the qualifiers, we eliminated Zambia, Kenya and Congo, and we can do better. It will be difficult playing the host country in your first match in a competition of this nature. We will work hard for good results. We are here (in Gabon) to work and do our best to make Guinea Bissau proud and not as tourists.
Manuel Lopes Nascimento (President, Guinea Bissau Football Federation) I’m content with the content of the draw. It is a joy to participate and in the opening match of the tournament. I’m very confident and optimistic of victory in the opening match. It’s our first time yeah but we are here to play football. There will be no room for our opponents. I’m very confident we will make a good piece of history in this competition.
Hugo Broos (Head Coach, Cameroon) Being in the same with Gabon, the host country is not easy. However, there are two other teams (Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau). Expectations will be high of us because everyone will be expecting us to qualify to the knockout stage. Without taking into consideration the strength, and a team like Guinea Bissau for example is an unknown team to me and I will be doing a lot of research in the next months to be able to figure out the strength of this team.
George Afriyie (Vice President, Ghana Football Association) I think that our group is the toughest. It is similar to the World Cup Draw (because we have Egypt and Uganda). It will be a repeat of the World Cup qualifiers. I always trust my boys and the results of the draw will bring the best out of them.
Herve Renard (Head Coach, Morocco) It’s a very tough group. If I had to choose teams to avoid before the draw, I would’ve chosen some of the teams in our group. This is football and this is how the draw wants it to be. We will have to prepare ourselves very well. There will be an important emotional value but we will have to ignore all that because we will face Cote d’Ivoire which is very difficult especially when you have had the chance to know these players, and it is technically the same group. It will be tough but we have to be competitors. The match against Togo will be even harder on me during the 90 minutes but I will have to forget all what this man (Claude Le Roy) has done for me and do everything to win over. He has given me so much in my life and not just in football, but how to evolve as a man. I think I will need a lot of time to speak just of the good things that Claude has brought to my life but that is not today’s topic. Let’s concentrate on the tough matches.
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic (Head Coach, Uganda) It is destiny and divine intervention that we are once more in the same group with Ghana and Egypt, as in the World Cup qualifiers. Mali is also there making it a very tough group. We need to prepare properly in order to be competitive enough. I have to say that it has not been easy in our last three matches against Ghana, we have drawn twice and won one. Now we will be playing on a neutral and is difficult to play four times against such a big team. We have a surprise and it would be a great proof that we are moving towards a bright future for Ugandan football. Egypt is hungry after missing out on the last three editions. We are looking forward to playing against them, and Mali too. Personally, I believe that impossible is nothing. I believe in working and the players. We shall have to prepare well and call upon the 40 million Ugandans to support the team.
Ihab Leheta (Team Manager, Egypt national team) It is the same group as in the World Cup qualifiers except Congo. All teams in Africa now are very strong. We have not been participating in the last three editions and this is why we have to be in a good shape. It is very difficult to play the same teams in the World Cup qualifiers (Ghana and Uganda). On the other side, it is a good sign as the teams will get to know each other. Now it will be left to the coaches.