David Simbo, Sierra Leone International defender plying his trade in Sudan with Al Hilal believes Sierra Leone has the ability to qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations but expects a ‘difficult’ campaign.
Sierra Leone faces tricky Group I matches against holders Ivory Coast, Sudan and host Gabon with only one spot available for the final tournament. The last time Sierra Leone played at AFCON was in 1996 in South Africa and the Al Hilal defender never minced his words weighing up Sierra Leone chances when talking to footballsierraleone.net
“It is not an easy group but at the same time it is one possible to go through. Since the draws, my teammates mainly from my club have been disturbing me for a reaction,” Simbo said.
“We have the experience playing twice against Ivory Coast in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers, we know all the teams in this group are very good teams. With early preparations and more friendly matches to get the team ready nothing is impossible.
“It is important we begin preparations early with the strongest team possible of international players as well as a good balance in the squad to make our journey successful,”
“It was difficult in the 2015 qualifiers considering everything that happens if we put things into context and is going to more difficult. Gabon is the host country, Ivory Coast is the defending champions and Sudan is capable of causing a shock. We just can’t accommodate any complacency,” Simbo added.
Leone Stars are no strangers to holders Ivory Coast. They were recently defeated twice in Abidjan for the 2015 AFCON qualifiers and had met twice with Sudan in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers.
In the 1998 World Cup and 2004 AFCON qualifiers, Sierra Leone was in the same group with Gabon.
The two countries first met in an international friendly match in Libreville twenty years ago.
Host Gabon gained an automatic qualification and their matches in this group will only count as friendlies with no points awarded.
Leone Stars first task is against Sudan in Khartoum on the weekend of 12, 13, 14 July 2015, before hosting the holders Ivory Coast on 04, 05, 06 September 2015 in Freetown, before travelling west central Africa Libreville to face host Gabon on the 23, 24, 25, 26 March 2016.
Apr 13, 2015 @ 6:51 pm