If Spain must choose a team to support during the Africa Cup, that must be Guinea Equatorial. After reaching the great continental event on its own merits for the first time in its history – it hosted the tournament twice, hence its other two participations -, Nzalang Nacional traveled to Cameroon, host of the tournament, with a call in which they appear 15 footballers born on Spanish soil: Marvin Enieboh, Dorian Hanza, Rubén Belima, Luis Meseguer, Josete Miranda and Juan José Siafá from Madrid, Carlos and Javier Akapo from Valencia, Jannick Buyla and Esteban Orozco from Aragonese, Ibán Salvador from Catalonia, Saúl Coco from the Canary Islands, Pablo from Andalusia Ganet, the Basque Álex Balboa and the Balearic Emilio Nsue. There would have been more, but Aitor Embela, born in Figueras, was injured at the last minute and Pedro Obiang, a native of Alcalá de Henares, is still absent due to myocarditis.

“We don’t have any crack, neither a Salah nor a Mané, but we are a family. That’s why we won”, the captain of the National Nzalang, Emilio Nsue, warned in Ecuatvurban. In Cameroon, the one that was international with all the lower categories of the Spanish team was forced to explain everything that happened around the team in recent weeks. Equatorial Guinea was the last team to present its call for the Africa Cup, no longer having time to carry out a ‘stage’ prior to the competition or play friendlies in which to perceive sensations. The footballers also did not receive the bonus they were promised for qualifying, an achievement they consider “historic.” And they were planted. “The Minister of Sports and Bodipo solved everything. If they did not come to speak with us, they would have disqualified us because we were not going to travel“Nsue assured. Hours after the complaint, Teodorín Nguema Obiang, vice president of Equatorial Guinea, promised to” personally contribute 200 million XAF francs – just over 300,000 euros – for each game won during the CAN. “

“Before it was normal because we lost every game and we couldn’t demand anything. Now we have five consecutive victories at home with a clean sheet and we have qualified for the Africa Cup on our own merits, something historic. There comes a time when you say: ‘Up to here’, “continued Nsue, lamenting the fact that other teams have been able to enjoy a two-week preparation and several friendly matches. “We are going to play against the best teams and the best players in the world. We do not ask for luxuries, only a professional base. We meet in Madrid to train on artificial turf and we travel to Cameroon making a 15-hour stopover. The rest of the teams have traveled on charter flights. That is noticeable in the legs, “deplored the Balearic. Despite the various obstacles, the Equatorial Guinea team is not afraid of anyone: “Many people would pay to be in the Africa Cup. We are privileged and we are to death with this team.” The National Nzalang will meet Ivory Coast, Algeria and Sierra Leone in a demanding group stage.

“It is as if Liechtenstein qualifies for the final phase of a European Championship”

Outside the grass there are also Spaniards who have done their bit to make Equatorial Guinea make history. It is the case of Josele Gonzalez, head of the international department of Leganés and, since 2018, technical secretary in the Federation of the only country in Africa in which Spanish is the official language. “We carry out an absolute control of all the eligible players and we transmit our reports to the coach. He is the one who decides, but we have a lot of control because a large part of the footballers are in Spain”, discovers Josele, for whom the participation of Equatorial Guinea in the Africa Cup “it is as if Liechtenstein qualifies for the final phase of a European Championship”. “Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco are cucumbers and Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon or Senegal have incredible players. Among all of these we are with a squad full of young players who play in the Second or Third Division. Our great virtue is that we have the African physicist and European head “, adds a Josele who is accompanied by the physical trainer Ivan Spout and the physiotherapist Ruben Tenorio.

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