- Guinea have by no means graced the FIFA World Cup
- Syli Nationale are in a qualifying group with Morocco, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau
- Coach Didier Six assesses their possibilities of making historical past
Guinea’s youth groups have competed on the world stage on a number of events, collaborating at the FIFA U-20 World Cup twice (Japan 1979 and Korea Republic 2017) and no fewer than 4 editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
One issue that has contributed to the nation’s profitable nationwide youth groups is the distinctive soccer academies positioned in the capital, Conakry. Even when the nation grappled with an Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2015, their U-17 and U-20 groups made the World Cup.
So why have the senior group by no means managed to qualify for the world showpiece?
FIFA.com spoke with Guinea’s French coach Didier Six, who loved a notable taking part in profession with French, English, Turkish and German golf equipment and was half of a beautiful France group that dazzled on the world stage and received UEFA EURO 1984.
After hanging up his boots, Six, like many French coaches, opted to forge a training profession in Africa reasonably than staying in Europe. Having guided Togo to the quarter-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, progressing from a troublesome group that includes Algeria, Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire, he was appointed coach of Mauritius. In cost of Guinea since 2019, his purpose – as he explains on this interview – is to guide the nation to their maiden look at the FIFA World Cup™.
FIFA.com: What did you make of the group whenever you first arrived in Conakry?
Didier Six: I don’t prefer to criticise those that preceded me, as they might have skilled issues that I might face in the future, however basically the group was struggling as a result of of non-sporting points, and we needed to get issues again on monitor. The customary of soccer in Guinea is nice, and with self-discipline every thing might be as much as scratch.
The nation’s youth groups have loved appreciable successes, however the Guinea senior group have by no means certified for the World Cup. Why do you suppose that is?
These issues can occur – there are quite a few robust groups which have by no means made the World Cup. Qualification isn’t inevitable and the competitors is actually fierce, provided that 54 African nations are competing for simply 5 spots, though that quantity is set to extend in the future.
What’s your purpose for Guinea in these World Cup qualifiers? Is it to guide the nation to the finals for the first time?
Qualifying for the World Cup is the dream of all Guineans, be it the followers, the gamers or the president of the soccer federation. When I accepted the job, he put reaching Qatar 2022 as a clause in my contract. That stated, we’ll face robust opposition in our group and our activity received’t be simple, particularly now that even the continent’s lesser lights have developed and are now not gentle touches.
How would you assess Morocco, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, your opponents in Group I?
On paper, we’re second favourites after Morocco however, as I simply stated, groups like Sudan and Guinea-Bissau have had some good outcomes. This got here as no shock to be me as a result of Africa’s smaller groups have come a good distance and now make issues fairly tough for opponents.
How do you envisage your derby video games with Guinea-Bissau?
We’ll play them the identical as we do the different groups however with even higher focus. Players looking for to characterize their nationwide group should have combating spirit, as that is one of principal causes sides get good outcomes. As coaches, we’re obliged to choose gamers who possess this mentality. So far, I’ve Naby Keita, who performs for Liverpool, Amadou Diawara at Roma, and Mady Camara at Olympiacos, however I don’t have gamers at Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. That stated, we’d like to have the ability to compete with the squad we now have out there, however even earlier than that, we now have to ensure gamers have this combating spirit. That’s essential.
Although Naby Keita doesn’t play a lot for Liverpool, he’s nonetheless the high Guinean participant at current. Have you constructed the group round him?
It’s not about constructing the group round a particular participant. In my opinion, Keita has magical toes, and I made a decision to offer him the captaincy as a result of he’s a real chief. He’s by no means abrasive along with his group-mates. The manner he talks to them is similar to the manner Zidane offers along with his gamers, and he communicates the message in a beautiful manner. When he got here again from damage, I gave him two full video games in 4 days and he helped us rather a lot, like scoring in opposition to a robust Mali group in Mali. He places himself at the disposal of the group and his group-mates do all they will to help him. We at all times want his magic and battling spirit on the pitch.
You’re at present based mostly in Conakry and likely see rather a lot of native soccer. What do Guinean gamers must do to be extra represented in European leagues, like their counterparts from Algeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and elsewhere?
We all know that Guinean gamers are technically very expert, and issues in Guinea are slowly getting higher. When the nationwide group get good outcomes, gamers get consideration from abroad. There are additionally golf equipment which have come a good distance, corresponding to Hafia and Horoya Conakry. People right here play of their neighbourhoods and typically I see them taking part in in the road as I drive by. I’ll usually be captivated and wait to see a shot or the finish of a transfer. Guineans are very captivated with soccer.
Do you suppose that an African group can attain the latter phases at Qatar 2022?
Why not? There’s rather a lot of potential in Africa and there’s been a serious transformation in phrases of mentality. In addition, there are such a lot of African gamers based mostly in Europe now. Algeria have a superb squad, the identical goes for Morocco, and we are able to’t neglect about Egypt both. Now, they all should recover from the concept that an African group can’t transcend the quarter-finals, which Ghana most just lately reached. There are many good groups corresponding to Cote d’Ivoire, which had been beforehand very robust however are actually in the course of of rebuilding.
How do you put together your group throughout these difficult occasions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic?
Instead of having a squad of 30, we name up 40-45 gamers. FIFA have just lately handed guidelines that permit us to have larger squads. This has helped coaches as they now have higher flexibility throughout these tough occasions.