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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Equatorial Guinea don’t have stars, ‘our star is the team’ – Ganet

7:14 pm AEDT 28/1/22
Pablo Ganet Comitre of Equatorial Guinea during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon.
The 27-year-old suggests why Nzalang Nacional are having a good run in the African competition after reaching the quarter-finals on Wednesday

Equatorial Guinea midfielder Pablo Ganet believes a lack of star players in their squad has helped them to do well at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Against all odds, the Nzalang Nacional continued with their fine run in the 33rd edition in Cameroon after they beat Mali 6-5 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

Their victory against Les Aigles came after they had also caused an upset in the group stage, when they beat defending champions Algeria 1-0 at Douala Stadium.

The 27-year-old Ganet, who features for Segunda Division RFEF club Real Murcia, feels their fairy tale run in Cameroon is a result of their squad not having big-name stars.

“We are a small country. We don’t have a star - our star is the team,” Ganet said as quoted by BBC Sport Africa.


“If they respect us, ok. If they didn't respect us it is up to them, but we showed our value. We played with our heads.

“I am so happy, I don't know in English how (to say) tears of emotion. I feel really happy, but not about me, but as a team, because we played as a team and it is in our power.”

Ganet, who was named man of the match against Mali, explained their players, most of whom play domestically in Equatorial Guinea, have shown they can fight for positive results against the best players on the continent, as they did against Les Aigles.

“In the first half, I have to be honest, I think they played better,” Ganet continued.

“But step by step we got better and I think in extra time we played even better than them. I don't think they expected that and when they wanted to react it was too late. But Mali is a big team and in the future, they can go far.”

Meanwhile, coach Juan Micha said after beating Mali: “It’s historic for us to get this far and it comes after excellent work by my players.”

The Nzalang Nacional kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Ivory Coast, beat the Desert Warriors 1-0, and then managed another 1-0 win against Sierra Leone in their final group fixture.

Equatorial Guinea will face Senegal in the last eight of the competition at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Sunday.