Guinea's Traore calls for united front

Traore
Mali's Abdoulaye Diaby (right) challenges Guinea's Ibrahima Traore during their 2015 African Cup of Nations Group D match in Mongomo. (Photo: Reuters)
AFP
Saturday 31 Jan 2015
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Guinea's stand-in captain Ibrahima Traore had strong words for his country's media as he called for a united front ahead of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final against Ghana in Malabo.

The Syli Nationale made it through to the last eight at Mali's expense only after a drawing of lots on Thursday, and coach Michel Dussuyer came in for some criticism during the group stage as his side drew all three games.

However, their eventual passage to the quarter-finals was met with wild celebrations back home in a country ravaged by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

When asked what a win against Ghana would mean, Traore said: "That would be really important. We have seen pictures and videos of what happened in Guinea, and all the joy and happiness that we have given to the people.

"Sometimes we have to put things straight - we are Guineans, we are a small country, we are not a big team.

"People have to understand that what we are doing, with all our difficulties, is something great.

"That's why I want to say to all the journalists from Guinea that at some point they have to let it down a little bit and be all with us as a unit, and not only be there writing things about the coach and the team.

"Tomorrow (Sunday) is a big day for all Guinea after all we have been through, so I hope everyone will be dancing with us and not writing shit about us."

A clearly pumped-up Traore, who has worn the armband in the absence of regular captain Kamil Zayatte due to injury, was given a warning by the Confederation of African Football's media officer for his strong language.

He also had a message for the Ghanaians, telling the Black Stars that the two sides' friendly relations off the field will be forgotten come kick-off on Sunday.

When asked how he would motivate himself to come up against his 'brothers', the winger replied: "Yeah, but on the field no brothers. I'm sorry, it's like that.

"Even if I have to play against my own brother I will tackle him if I have to win.

"We know them, they know us, we are at the same hotel, the atmosphere is good, but as soon as we go into the bus for the game there will be no friends anymore."

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