With the arrival of Andres Jorge Mbomio to the presidency of the Equatorial Guinean Football Federation (FEGUIFUT), and the choice of Esteban Becker as national coach, the first decision that was crucial to the success of the Nzalang in this African Cup of Nations was made: to choose Equatorial Guinean players of birth or descent, rather than nationalized players who had already played for the national team.
With this -probably risky- decision, the weight of the team was placed on the three captains, Emilio Nsue, Javier Balboa and Juvenal Edjogo, and they wagered on youths without any professional experience at the level of the national team, but who were eager to prove themselves.
Time has shown that the decision was correct and the integration of the youths, supported by the senior players of the team, was immediate. Iban Edu, Kike Boula and Pablo Ganet, to name a few, have brought freshness to the national team, and they have shown that they can contribute to its future success.
The team has been a tight-knit group and the atmosphere experienced was excellent. Those who have spent years following the Nzalang can state that we have never had a group like this, where all players are considered brothers and where they all give every ounce of effort to win.
The team reached the CAN with fifteen days in preparation, with new tactical systems, but it was able to deal with national teams as powerful as Burkina Faso, Gabon, Tunisia and Democratic Republic of Congo. And keep in mind that after six matches, it only lost to Ghana in the regulatory time, when all the teams Equatorial Guinea has played against surpassed it, the least by 54 positions and the most by 96, in the FIFA ranking.
What this group has done was historic, as the Head of State, H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, recognized, but now it is important that these foundations be the ones on which a strong national team is built. The team is formed, now it must incorporate some players who, for various reasons, were unable to attend this CAN and work with time, so that the technical and tactical concepts that Esteban Becker wants to instill in the Nzalang Nacional can be assimilated.
Text and photos: Javier Hernandez
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office