AFCON 2023 - Guinea-Bissau: Alfa Semedo out for revenge

AFCON 2023 - Guinea-Bissau: Alfa Semedo out for revenge

Alfa Semedo had to give up most of the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon because of Covid-19.In Côte d'Ivoire for the 2023 edition, the midfielder intends to join the party and take Guinea-Bissau through to the last 16. Which would be a first.

Alfa Semedo's call-up to the 2021 African Cup of Nations with Guinea-Bissau was a real disappointment. The defensive midfielder was in Cameroon, but had to watch most of the competition from his hotel room TV. The player had tested positive for Covid-19. He only played 15 minutes in the final group match against Nigeria. The Djurtus were eliminated in the group stage with just 1 point (last place). Last time, I was locked in my room for 10 days," Alfa Semedo tells BBC Sport Africa. It was my first Africa Cup of Nations and I wasn't able to help the team. This time, I want to be ready and I hope the coach will call on me. The 26-year-old is one of the 25 players selected for the AFCON.

Alfa Semedo also claims to be very attached to this selection. "It means a lot every time I play for Guinea-Bissau because that's where I grew up, watching the national team. There's nothing better than playing for your country.


Baciro Cande to lead the Djurtus

With 17 caps (2 goals), Alfa Semedo is now one of Guinea-Bissau's key players. All the more so as some of the older players, such as Piqueti (30 years, 37 caps and 7 goals) and Jorginho (28 years, 25 caps and 5 goals), have not been called up to take part in the competition, which runs from January 13 to February 11. The player from Al-Tai in Saudi Arabia will therefore be one of Guinea-Bissau's major assets, as they face a tough task in Group A alongside Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. They will have to work hard to qualify for the Round of 16 of the African Cup for the first time in their history.

Alfa Semedo, on the other hand, prefers to bet on the coach, Baciro Cande, who has been in charge of the Djurtus since 2016. "The coach has been here for a long time, so he knows the players well. He knows the system, the organization. He's been able to build a good dynamic with the players.When someone new arrives, he knows how to welcome them. He knows the processes and he really understands us; we have a good relationship. It's great because he knows the country, he feels every moment on the pitch. He feels inside that he wants to do something for our country. It shows."

Guinea-Bissau's first match is against Côte d'Ivoire on January 13.

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