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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Beware Guinea-Bissau can surprise Nigeria and Egypt – Mendes

11:00 GMT 01/01/2022
Jonas Mendes of Guinea Bissau.
The 32-year-old custodian warns the Djurtus have what it takes to upset the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs in Cameroon

Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes has warned group opponents Nigeria and Egypt to take them seriously when the Africa Cup of Nations tournament kicks off in Cameroon.

The Djurtus will take part in their third Afcon competition and have been pooled in Group D alongside the Super Eagles, the Pharaohs, and Sudan.

The 32-year-old Mendes, who last played for Black Leopards in South Africa and has managed 50 caps for Guinea-Bissau, believes they have a squad capable of surprising many people at the 33rd edition of the African competition.

“Beware of facing us, because everyone thinks Guinea-Bissau is a small team. We will surprise a lot of people; we are capable of that, so you have to take us seriously,” Mendes said as quoted by FilGoal.

On facing Egypt’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz and the Pharaohs in their second match of the competition, Mendes said: “He is a special coach, everyone knows him, he has great players, and he coaches a strong national team like Egypt.

“But I believe that we can do something to get out of the match with a point, or perhaps the three points against Egypt. I know that they are strong and have great potential, but I believe in my country, my colleagues, and our technical staff.

“We will face them with integrity and courage and give our best to fight for a point or three points.”

Mendes continued: “We must focus on ourselves and on the coach’s tactical guidance for the match. If we sit down and think about the quality of Egypt's players, that will make things difficult for us. We just want to focus on ourselves and go to the field to do our best.

“It is my first time against Egypt. The memory I have is the previous African Nations that were held in Egypt and we enjoyed the country, unfortunately, we did not stay for long, but it was a great experience, they organised the tournament in a distinctive way, and I congratulate them on that, and support them to organize more tournaments because it was a special organization.”

On coming up against Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, Mendes explained: “I think it is an opportunity for everyone, especially since we will not play alone, but 11 against 11. Therefore, I am not the only one who will face him, but I have my team that supports me, and I will support them. We will play as one to try to give our best.”

On whether Egypt’s Mohamed El-Shennawy is the best goalkeeper in Africa, Mendes said: “He is a good goalkeeper, I can't say otherwise. But in my opinion, the best goalkeeper in Africa at the moment is Senegalese Edouard Mendy.

“We Africans have excellent goalkeepers, but for Edouard Mendy, he's the best in Africa right now.”

The Djurtus will face Sudan in their opener at Roumde Adjia Stadium on January 11.